by Tristan Turner
Morinville residents will see a 0.96% increase ($19.86 per year on a $300,000 property) over 2017 in their property taxes. Council passed second and third reading at their Apr. 24 meeting.
At First Reading during the Apr. 10 Council meeting, Councillor Nicole Boutestein brought up the possibility of increasing the tax rate above what budget requirements to fund operational reserves. Neither Boutestein or Council made a motion to increase beyond the roughly 1 per cent identified in the budget.
Council approved the mill rate with second and third reading after a brief presentation from Chief Financial Officer Shawna Jason, who reminded council that the tax plan needed to be approved and sent to the provincial government by the Apr. 30.
Jason laid out her plan for a review of Morinville tax strategy before and during the 2019 budget process. This process would include meeting with council, including data from the region on comparable tax rates, and potential impacts from raising the non-residential rate, or from keeping it the same.
Jason also acknowledged that the review would also include a review of the expected impact on tax rates from the opening of Morinville’s new recreation centre in 2019, and long-term overview of tax rates.
Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe asked if discussion about how to maintain a steady lower tax increase in the long term would be included, and to what degree Jason was comfortable that Morinville could avoid ‘spikes’ [in the tax rate] over the next few years.
Jason acknowledged that this would be a major component of her focus in the tax review, and that she is hoping to work with council to do what they can to keep rates predictable.