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Diamond Valley approves budgets, taxes up six per cent

First operating budget for amalgamated town checks in at almost $14.5 million
Turner Valley and Black Diamond amalgamated on Jan. 1 and the new Town of Diamond Valley approved its first budget earlier this month.

Diamond Valley council unanimously approved a consolidated 2023 operating budget and capital budget May 9, marking a significant milestone in the amalgamation process of the new town. 

In December 2022, the towns of Black Diamond and Turner Valley each prepared interim budgets for 2023, which were subsequently approved. Following extensive deliberation and adjustments, council has now finalized a budget of almost $14.5 million, representing a two per cent increase, lower than the originally proposed 3.5 per cent increase. 

In the upcoming weeks, council will establish a property tax bylaw, taking into consideration various factors such as school and seniors requisitions, final property assessments and the amalgamation of different mill rates. Anticipated as a result of the two per cent budget increase, the average property tax increase is expected to be around six per cent, although this may vary based on residents' specific locations and assessment values. 

Key highlights of the approved budget include the allocation of $686,000 to reserves, a firm commitment to completing a comprehensive utility rate review by fall 2023, which aims to achieve rate parity, and the completion of facility assessments and a review of critical bylaws that will shape the Town's future direction. 

The capital budget encompasses almost $1.4 million, including $389,000 for machinery and equipment and $340,000 for vehicles. 

As the amalgamation process progresses, council and administration say they will continue efforts to enhance efficiency and streamline operations while maintaining service standards across all areas. 

Furthermore, they say the budget reinforces the Town's commitment to providing ongoing financial support to important municipal partners, including the Sheep River Library, the Sheep River Regional Utility Corporation, the Westend Regional Sewage Services Commission, Foothills Cemetery and the Foothills Regional Emergency Commission.

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