Coronation council met with the local RCMP’s newest detachment commander during their regular meeting on Mon. Dec. 7.
John Pique has been involved with the RCMP for 14 years, taking on a number of different roles in Alberta within that time including financial crime, drug section, federal organized crime, four years monitoring Hobbema (now known as Maskwacis) and more.
“I hope you find us really boring,” laughed Coun. Shelley Cook.
He hails from New Brunswick.
His first day in this new position was Mon. Dec. 7.
The local detachment is one member short after they were injured on the job.
The second public servant position has been filled with the new employee starting before Christmas.
When asked about mandating social distancing and other COVID-19 measures, the members felt education and warnings will be the most appropriate course of action before issuing tickets.
Tax rate increase
Council voted to increase tax rate by one per cent due to a number of factors including provincial policing costs and future preparation.
They passed the interim budget after a thorough review which was presented by Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Quinton Flint.
Being an interim budget, these figures are yet to be adjusted slightly before the official budget is passed in May.
The purpose of passing an interim budget is to allow the town to continue to pay bills and employees.
The provincial government mandated that by 2021, all municipalities will include a police costing model scale to their budgets to help assist in provincial and federal expenses in this area.
For Coronation, the first year is an increase of 10 per cent which has now been introduced into the municipal tax mill rate.
This 2021 year, they expect this 10 per cent increase to total $17,494.
By year four (2024), this burden will steadily increase to 30 per cent where it remains the same into 2025 at $52,519.
Public funding requests totalled $119,000 but administration recommended $83,000 of this should be fulfilled as their limit.
This included $15,000 for the arena, $16,000 for the curling rink, $5,000 for the handibus society, $5,000 for the community centre, $14,000 for the library and $9,600 for Communities in Bloom and the golf club at $30,000 for a new mower.
CAO Flint noted that although there is a $75,000 deficit, the town has cut back $300,000 to ensure taxes were not raised high to cover the cost.
“It’s becoming unsustainable. We have to start mitigating as much as possible,” he said.
Based on 2020 assessment numbers, the residential mill rate (tax rate) is tentatively set at 17.3026 per cent which includes the police rate increase plus a one increase in the mill rate.
Estimated $12,431.39 in increased revenue.
This is to mitigate the deficit covered by the unrestricted surplus and the cost increase of materials used by the municipality like paper, freight, chemicals and so on.
Commercial and industrial mill rates are set at the same rate including the police costing as last year at 25.0671 per cent 25.1457 per cent consecutively.
The residential school levy is suggested at 2.518 per cent based on the 2020 year.
The commercial and Industrial school levy is at 3.7044 per cent.
Paintearth Lodge is at 0.5641 per cent.
The recommended one per cent increase is meant to ensure that the municipal deficit is reduced so that the municipality is not continually using unrestricted surplus to balance the operating budget.
The increase is also suggested to an anticipated drop in the assessment rates for the 2021 year.
Council camera equipment
At the last council meeting, administration presented equipment that they felt would work well for council’s virtual meetings.
At the time, administration worked off old quotes provided by two other companies located in Calgary.
However, upon further research, administration was able to find the same equipment from the town’s corporate account for a better rate, for a total of $4,670.51.
This included everything except for one cable that will need to be outsourced.
Council passed a motion to purchase the equipment.
The equipment is hoped to be in the town’s hands by January.