Hanna’s residential assessment has decreased just over $8 million while non-residential assessment has increased by almost $5 million leaving a total assessment decrease of almost $3.5 million, Hanna council learned at their March 12 regular meeting.
If the assessment decrease across all residential properties are similar, the tax rate will require an adjustment and each resident should end up paying a similar amount as their 2018 taxes even though their assessment has dropped.
Administration anticipates there will be a lot of questions about property assessments, especially with the sudden drop in property values. Some estimates have indicated 2018 residential properties on average sold for 30 per cent less than their assessed value.
Generally, assessment figures do not adjust as quickly as the market, so property owners may not be satisfied with their assessed values. CAO Neill reported the town will be hosting an open house where the assessor will be available to meet with property owners.
Doug Griffiths, community management consultant and author of 13 Ways to Kill Your Community, who has been retained by Hanna to assist with community transition, was in Hanna Feb. 22 interviewing.
Griffiths will return for a Council Summit and Inspirational Town Hall meeting scheduled for the end of March.
Griffiths will be talking about embracing change, what that change may look like for the Hanna region and how Hanna can best position itself to manage this change.
He will be given a tour of town prior to the meeting to access the assets in the community and assist with a marketing plan in conjunction with the Strategic Plan.
Coun. Kyle Olsen reported that the biggest relevance to Hanna discussed at the Palliser Economic Partnership meeting in Brooks on Feb. 22 was the Livestock Hub project.
Olsen also reported that taxi options are being discussed and development of the old Lodge appears to be moving forward.
In addition, Olsen reported that the Spray Park Committee, of which he is a member, received notice that they had been approved for an Alberta Community Enhancement Program grant in the amount of $125,000.
An open house will be organized when more information about funding is confirmed.
Business over the winter months at the Hanna Golf and Country Club does not warrant maintaining a full-time manager and staff.
Discussions have begun to change how the clubhouse operates over the winter.
Community Services report
Director Gwen Snell reported that Jason Smith has resigned from the Community Services Board (CSB).
Snell also reported that in the CSB budget, the increase for seasonal staff includes the adjustment for minimum wage increases.
Concerns over young children being left unattended at the arena and distracting patrons have been raised.
Signage regarding unattended children will be researched.
Director Snell has been tasked with drafting a document regarding Code of Conduct and Terms of Reference for Board members. A guideline for discussions, roles and responsibilities will be presented at the next CSB meeting.
Snell reported that the Hanna in Bloom Committee is working on plans for 2019.
Hanna will enter the National Communities in Bloom, Circle of Champions for 2019 in order to continue working to achieve 5 Blooms Silver.
The Town of Hanna will be receiving $265,689 for the proposed Town of Hanna Renewable Energy Resource Inventory Project.
This Alberta Community Generation Capacity Building grant supports Hanna’s efforts in development of community generation in the province.
Funding under this program will be used to assist with the necessary studies, business cases, technical planning for a potential, among other things, for a potential Community Renewable Energy project. A start-up meeting will be held prior to the end of March.
A $13,636 grant was approved by Alberta Municipal Affairs to carry out training under the Fire Services Training program for the municipality.
Protective Services report
Hanna received one Animal Control Bylaw Enforcement complaint in February and 14 snow removal complaints, reported Director of Protective Services, Adrian Mohl.
Mohl stated that the Municipal Planning Commission met and approved a one-year extension to complete all of the conditions of subdivision approval for the land north across Fox Lake Trail from the Co-op Centre.
Additionally, a building at 405-3 Ave. E was approved for use as an industrial building.