Tax rates set in stone for 2021 year

Written by Terri Huxley

Forestburg council has established their 2021 tax rates for the year.

In previous conversations, it was determined that councillors did not wish to see any rate increase but in the end, a 1.5 per cent increase was made to all mill rates to keep up with expenses coming in such as the downloading of police costs and the drop in local general assessment.

The only other change came for a minimum payment amount of $800 per property, a $50 increase from last year.

Utility rates are unaffected.

The residential and farmland mill rate sits at .01047968 while non-residential and linear is at .01927921. Machinery & Equipment mill rate is at .01927921.

As for provincial requisitions, the school education rate is at .00255999 for residential and farmland properties and .00376007 for non-residential properties.

Flagstaff Regional (Seniors) Housing sits at .00010285 and Designated Industrial Properties is at .00007627.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Dwight Dibben shared that there was a $10,000 shortfall but after council asked previously to look into cost savings in administration, they were able to find more than enough to cover this dollar amount; the main source being their change in auditing.

Council passed all three readings to enact this bylaw as well as the special culture and recreation tax.

This tax is unique to Forestburg in that municipalities can implement specialized taxes outside of what is required within the Municipal Government Act (MGA) to support local needs.

In the case of the village, this tax requires households to pay a $210 flat fee to assist in covering the costs of general repair, maintenance and operations of Forestburg cultural and recreational facilities.

The village anticipates the estimated revenues from the special tax to be $96,180 and these revenues will offset the estimated operating expenditures of $96,180 for these facilities.

A penalty of 10 per cent will be added to all unpaid current taxes if they are not fully paid by deadline.

Operating Budget revisions

Following the passage of the 2021 village operating budget, administration has been advised of less-than projected costs in the areas of protective services and human resources costs in public works and water operations.

The village has received its first invoice from the RCMP for $15,247 which is $7,566 less than the budgeted cost of $22,813 this fiscal year as administration expected the province to ask for second year monies.

The start of police costs for municipalities was intended to begin last year but with the pandemic it was pushed to this year.

The village has also been advised that they have received partial funding through the Canada Summer Jobs Program that amounts to $15,750 this year.

This support will result in a $3,150 decrease in salaries in water operations and a $12,600 decrease in public works in 2021.

In total, Forestburg will see a decrease in projected operational spending in the amount of $23,316.

Administration has reviewed the budget and has taken into account operational occurrences and issues to date and proposed a reallocation of these monies in a few areas.

Council agreed to these recommendations including $10,000 in support of concept planning and a draft Area Structure Plan for the South Industrial Subdivision and the neighbouring quarter-section adjacent to the east as Urban Expansion lands; $5,000 in support of sponsorships, goods and promotions.

Currently, this budget line item is budgeted at $1,000 which has already been allocated for the Village’s donation to the Curling Club for a new ice plant.

It also includes $5,000 for a proposed increase in a budgeted transfer to reserves taking it from $2,500 to $7,500 for this year; and $2,316, the remaining balance to augment the street and sidewalk repair budget, notably to offset the costs of patching 50 Street as a result of the water main break last month.

Library Board appointments

The Forestburg Library Board has nominated two individuals to be appointed to the board for a three-year term ending in April 2024. Helen Burg and Donna Freadrich have been selected to take these positions.

Council passed a motion to accept both volunteers to these roles.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.