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.
At the Mar. 8 Council meeting, Council approved 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.