Town of Coronation taking closer look at tax penalty incentives

Written by Terri Huxley

Administration provided information and seven options on how to waive penalties on taxes for residential and business accounts at the latest regular meeting on Tues. March 9.

The purpose of the incentive is to entice residents to pay their taxes owed from 2020 and upcoming in 2021.

One option was a mill rate decrease for an X percentage to match the penalty amounts for the 2020-year tax penalties.

The 2020 year’s penalties were a total of $67,101.28.

The mill rate adjustment could provide an avenue to move forward equally across the board for all residents who own property and include the businesses.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Quinton Flint shared that after speaking with financial advisors, they recommended to not fiddle with the mill rate for 2020 taxes owed as the audit has already been completed.

In doing this, the general ledger would need to be adjusted and re-audited.

This includes manually adjusting over 200 affected accounts.

Dropping the mill rate for a year would also mean that it would be raised the next year.

“Just because it’s a little bit of work doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consider doing it,” said Mayor Ron Checkel.

CAO Flint encouraged any resident owing taxes to come to the office as soon as possible to set up a tax repayment plan.

“It would be in anyone’s best interest to do the tax agreement,” he said. “Tax agreements are your best friend at this point.”

He added that these agreements are flexible in nature with monthly and lump-sum options to work with as needed for each individual.

Council agreed to table this topic to the next meeting and asked administration to look further into the options spoken to.

Projects moving forward

A few projects from last year’s budget stood out to administration.

These were projects not able to be submitted into the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding projects list until 2021.

Since some items took longer to get started or completed than anticipated, council was asked to re-motion five different ones to be able to pursue this year under the MSI Capital grant for this year.

Council passed motions to proceed with the water meter replacement program for $50,000, swimming pool chemical unit and heat controller for $13,345, swimming pool culverts for $3,635, walking path maintenance and repair for $4,500, and engineering for the sewer lift station for $20,000 using MSI Capital funds.

The unspent carryover from MSI from 2020 was a total of $158,117 with the subtraction of the total amount from the projects listed that leaves a total of $66,637 from the 2020 carryover to be used on 2021 projects.

A possible suggestion for the remainder carryover amount would be to purchase additional water meters and installing this year, making a total of $100,000.

CAO Flint updated council as well on the water meter replacements and stated the first handful of homes had received their unit, officially beginning the three-year program.

Council made a motion to use this carryover amount for the water metre project.

Energy Program enrollment

Alberta Municipal Services Corporation (AMSC) has offered the town its program services.

The town has been with this program on an annual basis for some time and has found it to be beneficial in getting the best deal for natural gas rates.

With prices fluctuating as a result of supply and demand and external forces such as government regulation, announcements of program and regulatory changes introduce volatility in the natural gas market, and consumers who can act quickly may be able to take advantage of favourable pricing shifts.

The aggregation process allows AMSC’s energy experts to monitor the energy and political landscapes for the municipality and manage risks.

Council passed a motion to enter into this program to allow AMSC to advocate for the best possible natural gas pricing for the Town of Coronation.

Having more municipalities together has been the goal for AMSC as this brings competitive pricing to the table from energy producers.

“With natural gas prices slowly rising all the time and I guess it’s a bit of a chance to prepare for the blow if they go up higher compared to last year,” said CAO Flint.

 

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.