by Colin Smith
Proposed upgrades to Paris Place Park will not go ahead following a decision by Town Council to cut funding for them from Morinville’s Long Range Capital Plan.
Improvements to the park, including community gardens and a firepit, were set to cost $35,000 in 2019 and $45,000 in 2020.
Council made the decision during its November 23 discussion of the Town’s 2019 Operating Budget and 2019-2038 Capital Plan.
Councillor Nicole Boutestein made the motion to remove the funding, stating that the park development was not a priority.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future,” said Councillor Lawrence Giffin in support of the motion. “The library might want to expand.”
“The area should be commemorated,” said Councillor Stephen Dafoe. “Maybe we can commemorate it in a different way.
Voting in favour of a motion by Councillor Scott Richardson, Council also decided to take out $45,000 that had been allotted in the budget for an engineering study to determine the best emergency generator to be installed in the recreation centre. Cost of the generator itself is estimated at $300,000.
Councillor Sarah Hall made a motion to reduce the funding budgeted for the Morinville Public Library from $583,300 to $508,753, the same level as 2018. On top of that is the Northern Light Library System levy of $51,161.
The motion was tabled until after Council hears a presentation by the Morinville Library Board at its November 20 Committee of the Whole meeting.
Second reading is another step toward final approval of the budget that would see the taxes of Morinville residential property go up three per cent.
If a proposed adopts a non-residential split mill rate of 1:1.1, to climb over a five -year period to 1:1.5 is adopted, taxes for the average non-residential property owner will go up 13.3 per cent.
Next year the average homeowner (with an assessment of $300,000 will pay $2,154.48 in property taxes, up $62.75 over 2018, while taxes for the average non-residential property owner will go up $278.20, for a total of $2,369.93.
The budget includes the cost of hiring the equivalent of 9.21 permanent staff.
The Long Range Capital Plan includes proposed capital spending for 2019 of just over $20 million for both new and ongoing projects.
Councillors still have the opportunity to make amendments to the budget before it is given third and final reading on November 27 or December 11.
They will receive the results of public consultations on the proposed budget at their Committee of the Whole Meeting on November 20.
Morinville residents still have the opportunity to have their say on the budget by emailing comments and questions can also to email@example.com, or registering to make presentations at upcoming council meetings.
Budget-related documents can be found at https://www.morinville.ca/budget-2019.