A study suggests joining Turner Valley and Black Diamond's mill rates will not cause taxes to rise in either town. Amalgamation consultant Brian Austrom says the communities' rates are almost identical.
But he does warn that taxes can still be raised by future councils. Austrom says neither town will be burdened with the others' debt, because the towns share similar loads. Austrom says merging will also help the towns attract and retain staff. They can share the costs of specialists like a town planner. While Austrom said the towns need more diverse and professional employees, he said no one's going to be fired. Both towns have promised that if they do amalgamate, no employee will lose his or her job. Austrom says police costs are the biggest obstacle to the merge. RCMP charge about $500,000 a year when a town reaches 5,000 people. The towns' joint population is expected reach that number within a few years. Austrom says the towns have contacted the province, asking for a deal. He says the Solicitor General waived police fees for Crowsnest Pass when it amalgamated. The municipality will start paying police fees when one of its original communities reaches the 5,000 mark.