by Calli Stromner with files from Paul Smith
2014 Property Tax Rate Bylaw
Council gave first reading to the 2014 Property Tax Rate Bylaw, which allows the Town to set the mill rate that is used to calculate taxes for all properties within Morinville. Based on the 3.5% tax increase approved by Council during their March 11 meeting, the average property owner in Morinville will pay an additional $32.33 on their property tax bill in 2014, which represents a percentage increase of only 1.23%.
“There are a couple of places where people’s taxes goes down,” said Financial Services Director Andy Isbister, adding that the Alberta School requisition was less than anticipated and the overall assessment for the town represented an increase of 2%.
The annual property tax bill consists of three separate items: the municipal tax pays for the services and infrastructure approved in the annual municipal budget; the Alberta School Foundation Fund is a requisition by the province and pays for primary and secondary education; and the Sturgeon Foundation requisition is levied on properties located in the Sturgeon region to pay for seniors long-term care and assisted-living facilities.
Temporary Borrowing Bylaw
Council unanimously supported third and final reading of the 2014 Temporary Borrowing Bylaw. Isbister explained that the Borrowing Bylaw allows the Town to have an unsecured line of credit at Servus Credit Union for short-term or emergency situations.
“We haven’t used some of these borrowing facilities for a number of years. It’s there as an emergency type of situation,” said Isbister, adding that this Bylaw will come before Council for approval on an annual basis.
Economic Development Working Group Remuneration
Council voted unanimously to approve remuneration for the five public members of the Economic Development Working Group. Public members will receive $50 per meeting as an honorarium and up to $2,500 has been included in the Planning and Development portion of the 2014 budget to accommodate this expense.
2014 Municipal Census
Council unanimously approved setting April 15 as the start of Morinville’s census. Legislative Officer Jennifer Maskoske explained that under provincial regulations, municipalities conducting an official census must do so in the period starting April 15 and ending on June 30.
“The report outlines what we would use is a hybrid system,” said Maskoske, adding that the census would be both online and enumerators going door-to-door collecting census information from residents. Online census will take place from April 15-30 and door-to-door enumeration will take place May 1 – June 30. A computer kiosk will also be available in the Morinville Civic Centre to allow people to voluntarily input their census information.
The 2014 municipal census will cost the Town $14,000, but as many of the grants received by the Town are directly tied to population numbers, a higher population number could result in more grant dollars flowing into town coffers.