Coronation operating budget approved

Coronation council had a relatively short meeting on Mon. June 22.

The town’s primary focus for the 2020 year is on maintenance with an approach to projects that prevent costly fixes in the future.

These projects range from the installation of the new Frontier lift station located on Range Road 111.

The Frontier location has been operating for the better part of 20 years and has surpassed its original life expectancy.

Town staff have closely monitored this lift station over the years as it continues to demand more maintenance and scheduled upkeep.

The installation of a new lift station will ensure that the sewage continues down the road, and upgrades make it easier to monitor while reducing hours to maintain the system.

Coronation is looking to enhance roads and fix areas in town that have become an issue over the years.

The main road projects scheduled for the 2020 year are the public works shop and Diana Lane.

The road surface in front of the town shop requires new asphalt at the entrance to the yard, and along the area where trucks fill with bulk water. The drainage in this location has been compromised.

The frost continues to heave the road surface, cracking and breaking down the concrete gutters and sidewalks, along with heavy traffic.

Diana Lane will also see a partial rebuild, as heavy saturation has started to wash areas of the road out.

The main thoroughfare has lost its compaction and is a cause for concern as the water utility line is paralleled with the main sections of the road.

Water meter replacement

Lastly, the town will begin its three-year water meter and MXU replacement program.

MXU’s are the devices that are installed on each water meter and allows public works to read the water meters in town wirelessly.

This program will be funded out of 2020 MSI Capital, and by the Federal Gas Tax (FGT) Fund for 2021, 2022 and 2023 years.

Council has suggested the replacement program over a three-year term to prevent the need to purchase many meters and MXU’s all at once in the next purchasing cycle while providing residents with a minimal tax increase.

Budgets

The municipal interim budget presented to council in January was presented with an assumption of no mill rate increase being made to the municipal tax rate for the 2020 year where the municipal interim budget 2020 mill rate is suggested to remain at 14.0254/mills.

However, it was noted that it would be in the best interest of the municipality to consider raising the mill rate by 1.5000 mills equalling $112,848.68 in additional revenue.

This would reduce the amount of restricted surplus the municipality would need to use in order to balance the 2020 budget.

Currently, the municipality requires a $79,518.92 to be used from the unrestricted or restricted surplus to balance the 2020 budget and a major reduction in spending for each department.

Regardless of a mill rate hold or increase in the 2021 year, the mill rate will have to be adjusted within the 2021-year budget due to increased police costs.

With this being said, the municipality does not need to raise the mill rates if the municipality is comfortable using the unrestricted surplus for the 2020 year, and/or the general restricted surplus.

Currently, the municipality is in good standing with the long-term loan payment ending in October of 2020, the cost of projects within the municipal tax levy, and within the grant assistance.

If the town council were to increase the mill rate by one per cent, it would provide an additional $75,232.45 in tax revenue.

This additional revenue could be used to build on the municipal reserves for future projects.

“It’s not a pressing issue to raise the mill rate this year but it would be probably suggested we raise it at some point and add the 14.2054 mills for the last three years.

“We keep taking out surpluses every year to balance budgets too so either we go and cut projects or consider doing that eventually,” said Mayor Mark Stannard.

In 2021, it is highly anticipated the town, “Will have no choice but to raise the mill rate to compensate for police costing,” as explained by Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Quinton Flint.

Coun. Vicki Horkoff asked the CAO what that mill rate will be? CAO Flint said it would be equivalent to $17,000 roughly for 2021 and then goes up in increments up to $47,000 within another three years by 2024.

“The only reason why I’m recommending the 1.5 per cent next year is because we wouldn’t actually have to raise it as much.

“It would be a much smaller amount to raise and we would have that police costing in there but it would also help us to kind of relieve the departments because the money would help the departments get back to projects.”

Council chose to leave the mill rate as is for this year with the knowledge of possibly raising it next year.

The municipal assessment showed a decrease of $242,360 for a -0.313 per cent increase in assessment in the municipality for the 2020 tax year.

The overall decrease was a result of the 2019 building assessment for commercial and vacant housing.

“The oil market did show major signs of struggle. The overall cost of business within our region was still favourable, but still has had an impact on our assessment values,” said CAO Flint.

Tax Rate Bylaw

Going hand in hand with the operating budget, the tax rate bylaw was also passed.

First reading took place at the special meeting the week prior with second and third officially putting it into action.

Received Gas tax funding

In a letter addressed to Mayor Stannard, it was confirmed by Municipal Affairs that the town recently received $53,770 from the Federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) towards various projects.

The feds announced earlier this month they would provide local governments across Alberta with $244 million early.

Council accepted this as information.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.

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