The Village of Morrin council approved their 2020 budget at a special meeting June 22.
The budget, according to comments made at the meeting, was developed in consultation with municipal advisor Tamara Sloboda.
The meeting was held via teleconference.
The meeting was chaired by Mayor Howard Helton and included councillors M’Liss Edwards and Melissa Wilton along with village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner.
At the beginning of the meeting, councillors discussed recent contact they had with CAO Plachner who apparently stated her input was not included on the draft budget.
Councillors asked Plachner what her concerns, if any, were. She answered, “Well, my concern is I don’t like my job being done for me, for one thing.”
Plachner stated the draft budget appeared to have everything there and nothing was missing.
Mayor Helton stated he felt Sloboda could not have completed the draft budget without Plachner’s input. The mayor also stated the budget was considered without the benefit of seeing the 2019 audited financial statements, which had not been received from the auditor as of the meeting.
Councillors unanimously approved the 2020 operating and capital budgets.
Next up was the tax rate bylaw. Councillors debated whether or not they should extend the deadline date for municipal taxes as some others municipalities have done to adapt to pandemic issues.
Plachner’s advice at the meeting was to keep the regular date. “We need the operating money,” said Plachner. “Now, not in October.”
Morrin councillors decided to keep the standard tax due date of July 31, with penalties applying on Aug. 1, and encourage any residents who are having trouble to contact the village office.
Councillors unanimously passed all readings of the 2020 tax rate bylaw.
No other details about the budget or tax bylaw were discussed at the meeting, and since the meeting was teleconferenced, copies obviously weren’t available. Nor are the documents available on the village website as of June 23.
Therefore, the ECA Review contacted Plachner at the village office on June 23 to find out if Morrin residents were facing a tax increase or decrease. “Pretty much stayed the same,” said Plachner over the phone.
When asked if the 2019 budget was used as the basis for the 2020 she answered, “I don’t know. I didn’t do it so I can’t say.”
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter