|Wild rose in Clearwater County|
Photo and story by Helge Nome
At its regular meeting on June 12, the Clearwater County Council added an extra $1,033,907 to its tax revenue, as compared to the figures presented in the 2012 county budget on April 24 and adopted by Council on May 8.
At that time the figures came out as follows: There will be an overall increase in tax money collected by the county of some $2.5 million over last year (when $30 million was collected). About $0.9 million of this increase is collected on behalf of the Province as a provincial education tax with the remaining $1.6 million augmenting the county budget. About $1.4 million of the increase comes from industrial operators within the county and the remaining $200,000 from resident taxpayers.
Now, however, an extra million dollars can be added to the figure of $2.5 million, taking the extra taxes collected this year to 3.5 million over and above the $30 million collected last year. And it amounts to one million dollars more than what is needed, as per the 2012 budget figures.
When asked about this, county staff said that the extra million in taxes being collected this year was due to a projected $700,000 budget deficit if last year's tax rate was used in tax collection. So a decision was made to increase the tax rate with a resulting million dollar surplus. This is on top of some $30 million of previous surplus monies that the county has parked in various long and short term investments.
When asked about the extra million dollars, County Manager Ron Leaf said that the money would be used to cover unforeseen county expenditures such as road maintenance and the possible construction of a sewage treatment plant in the county. Council voted to place the extra million dollars in its contingency reserve fund.