Council approves increase in interim budget funds

tax bylaw

by Colin Smith

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interim budgetTown council approved an interim budget increase to 30% from 20% of the draft 2022 Morinville operating budget at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The move came following an administration report stating that operational costs for the year were quickly approaching the 20% interim threshold set by council, with up to a month still to go before a full 2022 operating budget is finalized.

The deadline for approval of the 2022 budget is March 31.

On December 13, council chose to go to an interim budget to fund town operations during the first part of this year, rather than immediately begin consideration of the 2022 operating budget and 2022-2026 capital plan put forward earlier by administration.

It allowed for expenditures of 20% of those set out in the proposed operating budget brought to co with a number of initiatives considered less essential removed. That was reduced from the 25% sought by administration.

Budget discussions have been ongoing in January and February, with a new budget draft to be brought before council on March 8.

Meanwhile, in addition to routine operational costs, administration reports there are a number of budget costs that have to be paid all at once rather than being spread throughout the year, leading to requirements of more than 20%.

These include annual insurance premiums, quarterly dispatch payments, quarterly policing initiatives, casual staff adjustments for the increased use of the MLC, IT software licensing and support and an additional council strategic planning session.

To deal with these matters administration asked for an across-the-board increase to 30%, which would provide the budgetary capacity to continue operations until council approves the full 2022 operating budget.

“This helps get through to the end of March,” said Financial Services Manager Travis Nosko. “Then hopefully we are on track for having a full budget by the end of March and in April can go forward.”

Council approved the increase in a 5-1 vote, with Mayor Simon Boersma, Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe, and Councillor Scott Richardson, Councillor Maurice St. Denis and Councillor Ray White in favour, and Councillor Jenn Anheliger opposed. Councillor Rebecca Balanko was absent from the meeting.

Council also approved payment of the 2022 Northern Lights Library System levy of $51,740.39. This is a 0% increase in the levy, which is charged annually for membership in the regional library system.

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