Rocky View County (RVC) council has pushed back against a proposed three per cent property tax increase and reduced it to zero.

The council also reduced the water and wastewater rate increase to three per cent from a proposed five per cent.

Deputy Reeve Don Kochan motioned to eliminate the proposed increase and was joined by Reeve Crystal Kissel in presenting the argument.

"We are seeing quite a new tax revenue as a result of nonresidential and with these economic times in this country, I think it's wise that we basically instead of putting money into our savings account, we should be letting the citizens put it in their savings account," he said in introducing the motion.

Reeve Kissel says the county is in a comfort position to do it and favoured leaving it in the pockets of residents.

"People are struggling and not everybody works in government and not everybody gets a 3 per cent COLA or merit or whatever and there's things we need to do for our staff to make them feel that we care also." she continued. "But we also have to care about the people that are here and the people that pay this bill."

The final 2024 assessment roll saw revenue grow by $11.2 million, amounting in an increase of $9.2 million in additional new tax dollars beyond November's estimate of $2 million.  It was due to higher-than-anticipated new construction in the non-residential sector.

The administration's recommendations, presented by Kent Robinson, RVC executive director of corporate services, recommended $8.6 million be transferred to the tax stabilization reserve for future projects/service-level funding.

Div. 1 councillor Kevin Hanson believed it would be more fiscally prudent to keep the three per cent tax increase and put the extra funds reserve to be in a position to provide tax relief when the county's fortunes aren't so favourably.

"It's for the situations where we're looking at six or seven per cent increases in the coming year," he said.

During budget deliberations, council placed the platoon captain pilot program on hold until the 2024 Fire Master Plan is presented to council.

RVC will be receiving a report on the net amount being transferred into the tax stabilization reserve. A report is also forthcoming on the impact of increasing the county-paid portion of employee benefits to 100 per cent would have on staff retention.