No tax hike for Delia

Delia’s 2018 Tax Rate Bylaw passed first reading at the April 12 regular council meeting.
Following a positive, clean audit review with Endeavor Chartered Accountants, CAO Mark Nikota presented council with the 2018 proposed budget with no recommended increase to the tax mill rate.
According to Nikota’s budget highlights, Delia’s financial position has improved dramatically from where it was in 2016.
Cash flow issues have been resolved with the village no longer experiencing issues making payments on time.
With a $150,000 operating loan in place, there are no concerns about meeting obligations as they arise.
Careful and controlled spending has enabled the village to avoid using the operating loan in 2017 and they hope to achieve the same result in 2018.
Delia’s long-term debt has been dramatically reduced.
Currently, the village owes $87,195, down from over $520,000 owing as of last year.
Debt was paid with MSI and Gas Tax grant funding that was outstanding for the past few years.
While both the education and seniors requisitions have gone up from 2017, Nikota has projected a $23,160 budget surplus using the same tax rates as in 2017.
This surplus is in large part due to the increased MSI Operating Grant received from the province.
Though the village is looking at a number of potential capital projects including a water storage expansion and sidewalk replacement, Delia has no planned capital expenditures for 2018.
In the proposed budget, the total municipal tax levy for 2018 will be approximately $232,000, approximately $6,000 higher than budgeted for in 2017.
Though hoping to be able to lower tax rates, Mayor David Sisley stated that he was prepared to accept the budget as presented.
“Seems like the right thing to do,” added councillor Jordan MacNutt.
After accepting the proposed budget as presented, Bylaw 629-2018, the 2018 Tax Rate Bylaw unanimously passed first reading.
Advertising for the bylaw will take place before second and third readings, expected to take place at May’s regularly scheduled council meeting.

New school
The announcement of a brand new school will encourage Delia to take a hard look at just what kind of facility will meet community needs into the future.
According to Mayor Sisley, his consultations with Prairie Land Superintendent of Schools Cam McKeage suggested a need for community consultations to explore partnership opportunities.
While Delia’s current school already works in partnership with the Delia library, Sisley advocates exploring additional partnership opportunities to create a community hub instead of just a school.
Sisley advised that community input will need to be gathered soon as the Alberta government is not planning further public consultations before construction is scheduled to begin in 2019.

Public Participation Policy
According to the new Municipal Government Act, each municipality must have a public participation policy concerning how council and administration will work to engage the residents and stakeholders of the community.
Presenting council with a draft policy for their review, COA Nikota advised council that the policy must be in place by July 23, 2018, as per the new legislation.
Village Policy#24 – Public Participation was approved and will be advertised along with other village policies.

Linda Stillinger
ECA Review

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