Council for the Rural Municipality of Ritchot is planning to hold the line on taxes this year.

Mayor Chris Ewen says they have now given first reading to their 2024 financial plan, setting the stage for a public hearing on April 17th.

Ewen says if their proposed budget is approved, Council will be keeping its mill rate exactly the same for another year. However, that does not necessarily mean that property taxes will not be going up. Ewen explains that if a property's assessment has increased since last year, taxes for that property will be higher. 

According to Ewen, Ritchot's mill rate has remained relatively unchanged in the seven years since he was first elected to Council. 

"We are excited to keep it that way," he says. "The reason why we continue to maintain it is because the assessments continue to go up, so we don't need to justify any changes in the mill rate because we're bringing in more than enough to see improvements, to see a continued growth in Ritchot."

Having said that, Ewen suggests that there is a mix in Ritchot with some ratepayers wanting to see taxes remain unchanged, while others are willing to pay more in order for projects to happen a little quicker. Ewen explains that some capital projects, such as road infrastructure, water improvements, or wastewater treatment facilities can take five, ten, or even fifteen years of planning. Some residents would be willing to pay extra in order for those projects to be fast-tracked.

"I think the majority has always been very appreciative that we maintain and hold that line for the mill rate because things continue to get expensive," says Ewen. "Groceries aren't cheap, your home budget's not something that everyone can always afford, so if we can help out in any way by keeping that mill rate the same, but still see some progress in Ritchot, then we are happy to keep it that way."

Meanwhile, as indicated in their financial plan, Ewen says the municipality is planning for a lot of road infrastructure improvements in 2024. 

"We are going to see some road infrastructure improvements throughout pretty much each ward and community," says Ewen. "That's a big thing for us."

He notes other priorities this year will be drainage and ditching projects. 

This year's financial plan hearing is scheduled for April 17th beginning at 5:30 pm.