Alix village council approves interim budget; property assessments drop

The Village of Alix council approved their 2022 interim operating budget while pondering the fact property assessments in the community have dropped, much like the rest of the province. 

The interim budget was approved at the Dec. 1 regular meeting of council.

Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White provided councillors with the draft 2022 interim operating budget along with comments on the different sections of the document. 

“Based partially on the provincial equalized assessment changes for 2022, the tax revenue for residential properties was decreased by $14,000 and the non-residential was reduced by $7,000” stated White’s memo to councillors.

“Exact amounts for tax revenue accounts will not be known until after we get the new property assessments in February and the mill rate is set in spring, 2022. 

These numbers are estimates only and use the current municipal mill rate as a multiplier.” 

Municipalities arrive at their property tax rates by taking into account assessment values and the mill rate for each class or zone of land, meaning even if a mill rate stays the same as the previous year, a drop in assessed value means less tax revenue collected and, hence, a shortfall in the budget.

During discussion White noted assessed property values have been dropping across the province for three to four years and therefore Alix is probably not the only community having this discussion.

Some good news is that certain agencies who claim requisitions from the village are keeping their funding requests static. 

“Alberta School Foundation Fund (ASFF) requisition will not be known until spring, 2022 so it has not been changed in the current draft of the budget,” stated White. 

“Since the amount of ASFF paid out matches the amount we collect, if there are changes in the coming year(s) it will not affect our bottom line.” 

Municipalities collect school requisition tax for the provincial government and have no control over it.

White went on to explain both Parkland Regional Library System and Lacombe Regional Waste Services Commission have stated their upcoming budgets are essentially identical to 2021 and the same can be said the Hwy. #12/21 Water Commission. 

During discussion White stated it’s possible the water commission may drop its billing slightly in 2022, but it’s also possible it will bounce back up in 2023 and 24, so she advised leaving the rate as-is so residents don’t get a shock a year from now.

The CAO noted a provincial review showed the village operating budget recorded a surplus; surplus funds, she stated, are moved to other accounts such as sewer reserves, water reserves or cemetery reserves. 

The CAO noted that cemeteries do not generate any revenue and have to be fully funded by the taxpayer.

During discussion, White stated that the village saw an increase in its bulk water sales in 2021, $13,000 in total. The CAO noted that the village only expected to see about $3,000 in such sales.

Also, it was noted that an insert would be placed in upcoming village utility bills explaining the recent bylaw approved by council that lowers residential garbage rates by $2.50 and raises residential water rates by $2.50.

According to the Municipal Government Act municipalities must approve an interim budget or operating budget for the upcoming year before the end of the calendar year. 

Councillors unanimously approved the 2022 interim operating budget as it was presented.


Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.