by Colin Smith
Property Tax Installment Payments To Continue
Property tax installment payment measures introduced as a response to the economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic will become permanent if a bylaw introduced at the regular meeting of Town Council on Tuesday is passed.
The Tax Installment Payment Plan Bylaw given first reading at the meeting would supersede the Tax Installment Bylaw passed in 2005 and the Special Provision (COVID-19 Pandemic) Tax Installment Bylaw Amendment approved in May.
The measures include the ability of taxpayers to enter the program at any time during the year without a down payment, and payments adjusted to ensure all current year taxes are fully paid by December 31.
Town To Send Two Tax Notices
Morinville property owners will be receiving two tax-related notices instead of one from the Town next year, according to an Administration report to Council. The combined tax notices currently sent out include both the assessment value of the property and the property taxes payable on an annual basis. Next year, property assessment notices will be mailed to taxpayers on March 1, followed by notices of property tax owing sent out on May 31. The change will enable tax rates to be adjusted if assessment changes occur. This year assessment changes resulted in the loss to the Town of about $95,000 in property tax revenue.
Long Term Rates For Community Groups
Community groups that are long-term users of meeting rooms at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre or Morinville Leisure Centre could be getting a break on the rent. An administration report to Council presented three options in respect to long-term community group meeting room rentals. One option was that these groups be given a 10% discount on the standard rates, another that the groups could apply for Community Grant funding that could be applied to facility rentals. A third option for Council would be to make no change in the standard fee schedule for the groups. The long-term community group rental issue arose during deliberations on the 2021 Operating Budget, still to be finalized.
Outdated Policy Rescinded
A policy describing when and how Town of Morinville employees should respond to emergencies as volunteer firefighters is no more. On Tuesday Council rescinded the outdated policy, which had been in place since December 2010. As the volunteer fire association was replaced in 2016 by a fire department with paid-on-call employees, there are no longer any Town employees who are Morinville volunteer firefighters.
Increasing Maintenance On Trails Would Cost $68,000
Increasing the current level of winter roadway and shared-use paths maintenance would cost about $38,000 per year, according to an Administration report presented to Council. That is based adding seasonal and/or casual staff to work about 1,400 hours. The report, requested by Council during budget discussions at its November 10 meeting, also stated that maintenance materials needed in the summer to complete trail repairs sooner than planned would be an additional $30,000. The report was accepted as information by Council.
Steele Appointed Returning Officer For 2021 Election
Council has appointed Melodie Steele as the Returning Officer for the 2021 Municipal General Election, to be held Monday, October 18.
Lois Rusk has been appointed as Substitute Returning Officer, an appointment required by a recent change in the Local Authorities Elections Act. The Substitute Returning Officer takes over in the event that the Returning Officer is incapable of fulfilling her duties.
Steele is the Town of Morinville’s Legislative Officer.
“I know Ms. Steele has done a wonderful job in the past and will continue to do a wonderful job in the future,” said Councillor Nicole Boutestein.