Alix village council approved their 2021 operating budget plus the property tax bylaw and seemed happy there would be no mill rate increase this year.
The decisions were made at the April 7 regular meeting of council.
The 2021 operating budget was presented to councillors by Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White, including changes that reflect council decisions in the strategic plan.
She stated a part of the administration expenses was reduced.
“Admin-Professional Fees has been dropped to $15,000,” stated White. “Prior years the budget for this line was $25,000. This $10,000 reduction is due to the recently established general reserve which can be used for unforeseen professional services such as legal counsel.”
Further, White noted the purchase of a new mower for the village will impact actual tax revenue.
Councillors unanimously approved the 2021 operating budget.
Property tax bylaw
The CAO presented the proposed 2021 property tax bylaw, noting it took a bit longer to prepare because the provincial government changed the requisition amounts for things like education after village staff already completed the draft.
She said both the budget and bylaw had to be re-jigged.
The CAO stated residential and non-residential mill rates will remain the same as last year, which are actually the same mill rates that date back to 2017, the fourth year in a row with no change.
Coun. Vicki Soltermann stated she was content with this.
“I think we’re doing good,” said Soltermann, noting the village was holding the line but also getting infrastructure projects done.
Soltermann said Alix property taxes were among the highest in Alberta villages in years past.
Mayor Rob Fehr agreed with Soltermann, but added that the village has completed plenty of other projects that don’t get as much publicity as infrastructure.
“Don’t want to lose sight of that either,” said the mayor.
Coun. Tim Besuijen stated the village staff worked hard to keep the budget static.
CAO White said that, after the pandemic year, residents would likely appreciate a year of no mill rate increases.
Soltermann said she still felt the Alix mill rate was too high compared to nearby communities.
It should be noted that the mill rate is only one factor in determining the number that property owners eventually see on their tax bill; property value is another.
Councillors unanimously approved all readings of the 2021 property tax bylaw.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter