The Village of Alix council looks to be holding the line on their mill rate but with property values increasing in the municipality, residents may see their tax bills go up in 2022. The discussion about the operating budget occurred at the Apr. 6 regular meeting of council.
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White presented the 2022 draft operating budget, which also included draft budgets for 2023, 2024 and 2025 as required by the provincial government. She noted the current year budget was similar to the interim budget councillors approved last winter.
The draft budgets all predicted no increase to Alix’ mill rates.
The CAO stated the municipal portion of the mill rate remains unchanged from 2017; this is the number the village uses, along with property values, zoning and other issues, to calculate tax bills.
However, White pointed out property values in Alix have risen and the village saw several property sales over the past year. She noted residents may see an increase on their tax bill if their assessed value rose.
Coun. Barb Gilliat stated higher property values are a good thing.
Coun. Ed Cole asked how much of an increase would an Alix property owner see, to which White answered that it seems assessments in Alix have increased roughly $2,000 to $5,000 but she couldn’t predict how that would add up on a tax bill. Cole responded if property values are going up it shows Alix is a prosperous community.
White pointed out one change to the draft 2022 operating budget from the interim budget is the postponement of a $15,000 lagoon fencing project. She noted the lagoon fencing needs some maintenance but the village has spoken to the neighbouring landowner, who has livestock, and it’s understood the work will be completed but probably not in 2022.
White stated the neighbour was “…very understanding.”
Instead of the fencing project, the $15,000 will instead go into the sewer reserve account to pay for an emergency sewer line repair at the lift station stemming from an incident which occurred a few weeks ago.
Councillors unanimously approved the draft 2022 to 2025 operating budgets with one change to the 2022 budget: the $15,000 lagoon fencing project will be postponed.
Property tax bylaw
The CAO presented the property tax bylaw which will collect the revenue needed to pay for the budget councillors approved a few moments before. White stated the school requisition mill rate looks to be slightly lower than last year.
Councillors passed all readings to bring the bylaw into effect.
Councillors discussed a letter from the National Police Federation (NPF), the bargaining unit which now represents all RCMP.
The letter encouraged municipalities to join the NFP’s call to action to “halt the idea of a new provincial police force.”
Coun. Cole, who is himself a retired RCMP, stated he agreed with the letter and pointed out the NFP was simply quoting the province’s own transition study, including numbers that showed in his opinion that the initial start-up costs of a provincial police force would be “outrageous.”
Cole went on to note that news reports on Apr. 6 also indicated RCMP recruitment was down 50 per cent and not expected to get any better.
Cole then went on to note the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) also issued a statement Apr. 6 all its members opposed a provincial police force.
“As a citizen of Alberta I would much rather have the RCMP,” added Cole.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter