Hanna Council: Tax rate proposal to decrease

Hanna town administration recommended to council at their regular meeting April 24, 2024 for a decrease in taxes after learning of the higher property assessments.

The 2024 operating and capital budgets that were approved by council at the Dec. 12, 2023 meeting had an anticipated two per cent tax increase to generate $56,000 higher revenue than in 2023, however it was noted that information since the meeting shows that property assessment levels have increased from the 2023 assessment by $19,433.450.

Residential property assessment increased by $11,246,580, non-residential assessment has increased by $1,796,030 and exempt assessment has increased by $6,166,130 with the major increases seen in the hospital, J.C. Charyk Hanna school and Acadia Lodge.

Administration now recommends a budget with a three per cent decrease to the municipal portion of the residential tax rate and one per cent decrease to the municipal portion of the non-residential tax rate.

The revised budget would reflect a surplus of $6,862.

The changes to municipal tax revenue would see a total increase in municipal tax revenue of $80,112.
The school tax rate, municipal tax rate and seniors’ foundation tax rate would be reduced from 2023.

Most property owners would still see a slight increase in their taxes from the 2023 amounts with some properties having had a higher than average increase in the assessed value.

CAO Neill noted that there would be “some significant tax increases to some of our businesses” pointing out that it was “because their assessments have gone up significantly.”

CAO Neill also pointed out that it is “hoped that the reduction offsets the increase of assessment”.
“It’s been a hard year for people.” Coun. Sandra Murphy agreed.

Council motioned to accept the report for information.

Curling rink, an investment
Council received a presentation from Tanner Kautz, Hanna Curling Club president, on the activities of the Hanna curling club.

Kautz pointed out several successful events that they had hosted as well as a general increase in participation rates.

Some of these were the Farmers Bonspiel which had 22 teams, a four team growth.  The ladies bonspiel also had two more teams show over last year.

The club also hosted a mixed bonspiel with two teams from Calgary attended and a corn hole tournament August, 2023 with 32 teams signed up.

The rink raised approximately $30,000 at a casino event in the third quarter of last year which was noted by Kautz was helping to pay back some of the money owed to the town.

Coun. Sandra Murphy noted the reach of these events.

“The residuals from all these people and from the groups that came out, the teams that were formed.  They are not all from here, most of them are from elsewhere. They are not here for two hours and go home.  Some are here overnight and weekends and they are spending money in town which is not reflected here.”

CAO Kim Neill agreed, saying the curling rink “is an asset to our community.”

Neill noted that it brings people to town who will spend money and it’s part of a lifestyle.

“They are an important group and we want to make sure they are successful and continue to be successful.  We are in a partnership.”

Mayor Povaschuk concurred stating “it’s an investment.”

Talks of spec homes
Administration has been approached by a local builder to see if the town would have any interest in building a spec home or partnering to build a spec home.

Several aspects of building spec homes were discussed, such as land that could be used and what type of structures to build.  As CAO Neill noted the discussion was to gauge interest in the proposal.

“It is a good initiative” stated Coun. Kyle Olsen, adding that he liked the idea.

Coun. Angie Warwick shared an incident of a nursing family that had accepted a job in Hanna and had to decline it because they could not find housing. She noted that the town might have “trouble attracting and retaining” specialists.

Coun. Sandra Beaudoin wondered if management of the project would fall under the Harvest Sky Economic Development who is currently supported by the town.

CAO Neill noted that if Harvest Sky thought it would be a good economic development initiative, a proposal could be brought forward to the town and Special Areas, with each contributing $250,000 as seed capital.

The intent was with the sale of the house the money would go back to Harvest Sky to continue building houses.

The homes would not be rental units.

Coun. Fred Crowle suggested a multi-dwelling, duplex or four-plex structure instead of a single family dwelling.  CAO did not disagree but pointed out that the  “challenge is having service land for multi family.”

Coun. Olsen motioned to request that Harvest Sky Economic Development Corporation consider looking at building a spec home or properties.

Cheryl Bowman
Multimedia reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Cheryl Bowman

Cheryl spent most of her childhood in Stettler, growing up on a quarter section north of town. After graduating from Stettler Composite High School she moved to Calgary where she worked in various industries, attended The University of Calgary and raised a family.

She enjoyed volunteering and contributed in a variety of ways, such as writing articles for the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and covering charitable events as a photographer.

She moved back to Stettler in 2023 where she still has family.