Budget Open House on Tuesday – 2022 budget down to 5% increase from original 15.39%

tax bylaw

Budget Open House Tuesday. Last December’s draft budget called for a 15.39% increase. The current draft set at 5%

by Colin Smith

A proposed budget draft accepted by Morinville Town Council calls for an overall 5% per cent residential tax increase.

budget open house

The proposed 2022 operating and capital budget will be presented to Morinville residents at a budget information session at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre on Tuesday night from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The intent is to incorporate feedback from community members into the budget, which will be finalized at a special meeting of council before the end of the month.

The proposed 5% tax hike breaks down into a 3.5% operational tax increase and a capital tax rate increase of 1.5%.

The residential to non-residential tax split would go to 1:1.15 from 1:1.1, for a 9.7% increase.

Taxes on an average residential property, valued at $334,603, would increase by $10.58, per month, or $126.98 annually, to a total of $2,666.64.

Average commercial property taxes would increase by $651.65 annually to $7,319.74 and for industrial property, an annual increase of $1,157 would bring the municipal levy to $12,996.38

Budget Decreased From Original 15.39%

The initial proposed 2022 operating budget brought to council by the administration in December set out a 5% operational tax increase and a special tax that would have had the effect of a 10.39% increase, for a total tax rate increase of 15.39%. The split between residential and non-residential rates would have risen to 1:1.2.

Council rejected that proposal and town operations have been funded on an interim basis while budget discussions continue.

The revised operating budget incorporates unallocated funds from the town’s Municipal Sustainability Initiative grants, and savings garnered from a council-imposed hiring freeze and administrative efficiencies.

There will be a $15,000 reduction in council’s operating budget and funds will be reallocated from individual councillors’ personal development budgets to fund council representation at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference.

In the budget, $250,000 has been allocated for Morinville’s share of the retroactive pay for RCMP officers negotiated in a recent contract settlement with the federal government. According to Financial Services Manager Travis Nosko, this is expected to be between $277,000 and $290,000.

However,  the budgeted amount may be topped up with funds that were to be directed to the Morinville Community Library to replace a missing $25,000 Sturgeon County Grant, as that grant is actually continuing.

While the current budget draft has been put brought by the administration, it continues to recommend that Council implement the originally proposed 5% operational tax increase, rather than the current 3.5%.

That is in the interest of reducing Morinville’s ongoing deficit in tax-supported spending, which requires it to draw on utility-generated reserve funds.

The 2022 Budget Information Session takes place Tuesday, March 15 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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See ad above right for details on Tuesday’s Budget Open House.