In a change of thought from Hanna town council, what first was going to be a zero per cent increase in municipal taxes is now going to be upped by two per cent approximately.
Following spring budget adjustments council first officially passed the budget but later in the meeting, it was determined by council when looking at the tax rate bylaw, their thoughts had changed as to how to move forward.
Coun. Gerald Campion mentioned he wasn’t able to attend the discussion portion of council’s last information session where the budget was talked about other than the description made by administration as he had to attend another meeting.
So at the current meeting on Tues. May 11, he stated he felt the tax rates should be increased by two per cent as the town cannot run on reserves each year and felt that postponing this increase will only make it harder next year to adjust to with an even higher increase to make up for this year’s loss in revenue.
For example, the RCMP funding model has cost them approximately $48,000 for 2021 which was never paid for before as police costing was originally a provincial obligation. Next year, this number will increase.
Council ultimately defeated the third reading of the bylaw in a 2 – 5 vote to allow for administration to adjust the tax rates for this approximate two per cent increase.
The spring budget will also be reviewed as they are linked.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Kim Neill noted the main culprits of increased taxes for some residential and non-residential properties comes from the school requisition as it has gone up to $20,000 as well as the Acadia Seniors Foundation.
Council will be holding a special meeting on May 26 to revisit the updated tax rate bylaw with the increase.
Municipal Public Utilities amendment
During spring budget deliberations at the April 28, 2021 council information meeting, council received information regarding an increase to the 2021 levy from the Big Country Regional Waste Commission (BCRWC) from $301,600 to $336,400.
Although the increase was approved in December 2020, the commission hadn’t provided official notice of the increase until April 2021.
As per practice, administration recommended that as part of the 2021 Spring Budget adjustment approval that there be a corresponding increase in rates for the BCRWC Fixed Operating Fee for properties serviced by the Town of Hanna.
Bylaw 1019-2021, the Municipal Public Utilities Amendment Bylaw was presented to council to increase the rate for the fee from $37.50 to $44.00 per billing period.
The rates and fees charged in Schedule A of this bylaw will be effective May 1, 2021.
The minimum invoice per billing period will increase from $133.50 to $140.00 for residential properties.
For commercial properties, the minimum bill will increase from $122.50 to $129.00 per billing period.
Coun. Sandra Beaudoin asked why this was rising to which it was explained that BCRWC had recently purchased new equipment for a project.
This year, each member involved in the commission is seeing the spike.
Council passed all three readings of the bylaw.
Swimming pool hours
Administration asked council to have a discussion about which hours would work best for the swimming pool, recommending the pool opens at noon on weekdays for the first few weeks of opening since schools won’t be returning to class until May 25 therefore it may not be used.
CAO Neill added that they can save about $200 per day in labour and heating costs if they chose to do this but wanted council’s direction.
After some discussion, council was in favour of keeping it open from 7 a.m. like normal as dedicated swimmers wouldn’t like this, as well as giving the staff hired the hours they depend on.
The current plan is to open Sat. May 22.
Land use bylaw redesignation
The town is looking to re-designate portions of Plan 0511341, Bloit ck A, Lots 3-6 and Plan 7810701, Block A, Lot 2, along Highway 9 from Highway Commercial (HWY-C) to Industrial (I).
By re-designating portions of this bylaw it affects the properties located at 708 Highway 9 to 708D Highway 9.
Council passed first reading of this bylaw amendment as per the recommendation by administration.
With this now in motion, the public hearing can provide opportunities for anyone who feels they may be affected by this amendment to be heard by council.
The residents in the immediate vicinity will be notified of the application for amendment and the public hearing date and advised of the opportunity to present their comments on the request for amendment.
Palliser Regional Municipal Services (PRMS) and its members saw the need to establish an Intermunicipal Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (ISDAB).
PRMS has established an ISDAB and serves as the coordinator for the program including the arrangement of necessary training, assignments of board members and clerks and any administration required.
Mr. Todd Wallace has taken the designated SDAB training and has been requested by PRMS to sit on an SDAB hearing in another jurisdiction.
To do that Mr. Wallace resigned from the Town of Hanna Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) and required an appointment from town council to the ISDAB.
Administration encouraged council to spread the word that two positions for the MPC need to be filled.
Council passed two motions, one to accept Mr. Wallace as the newest member of the ISDAB for a three-year term and to accept his resignation from the MPC to do so.