Council approves Operating and Capital budgets and tax bylaw first reading

Second and third reading of tax bylaw scheduled for end of April

by Colin Smith

Morinville Council has given first reading to the 2022 Property Tax Bylaw, which will raise $11,066,291 to support this year’s operating and capital budgets.

Approval of the bylaw through second and third reading will result in a five per cent tax increase, with the residential-non-residential tax split remaining the same.

At its regular meeting Tuesday council also approved the 2022 Capital Budget, along with a three-year operating plan, for 2023-2027, and a 2023-2027 five-year capital plan.

The 2022 Operational Budget, which provides for $18,347,994 in spending, was passed on March 22.

Included in this year’s capital budget are projects with a total cost of $3,526,072.

The major part of funding for these projects, $1,948,963, comes from grants through Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) and Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF).

The 2022 general municipal tax levy will supply $155,837. Tax-supported reserve funds to the tune of $151,272 are to be used, along with $420,000 drawn from utility-supported reserves. Roadwork design costs of $100,000 will be charged to transportation offsite levies.

A major new project for 2020 is the construction of the Park Pavillion, which replaces the closed Rotary Pavillion and washroom facility at the spray park.  The cost of the project is $750,000, 100% of which will come from a recently approved CCRF grant.

The biggest ticket item for 2022 will be the annual edition of the Road Rehabilitation Program, at a cost of $880,400.

The budget for town fleet and equipment replacement is $550,000 this year, while $220,672 is the price tag for work on the Morinville Leisure Centre 77-acre site development. Both items are funded by MSI grants.

Other MSI-funded projects are the phase 2 of the 100 Street Trail, $200,000, provision of AFRRCS radio communications for the Fire Department, $150,000, installation of flag poles at Town Hall, $30,000, and an upgrade to the Morinville Community Cultural Centre main hall sound system, $25,000.

This year’s sidewalk rehabilitation annual program has been allotted $200,000. Design and installation of traffic signals at 100 Avenue/Grandin Drive and at Cardiff Road and 100 Street will cost $50,000 each.

In a presentation to council Financial Services Manager Travis Nosko pointed out that the Muncipal Government Act requires municipalities to produce an annual operating budget, annual capital budget, three-year operating plan and five-year capital plan each year.

“It is important to note that the amounts included in the 2023-2025 Operating Budget are for planning purposes only,” he stated. “Council has full discretion to modify and amend future budgets when presented as it sees fit.

“The intent of the operating budget is to ensure Council has an understanding of the future financial pressures facing the town.”

The 2023-2025 plan foresees revenues in the tax-supported operating budget rising from $16,497,716 in 2022 to $17,561,648 in 2025. During the same period expenses would go from $18,347,994 to $19,931,530.

The result would be deficits of $2,591,541 in 2023, $2,639,359 in 2024 and $2,369, 882 in 2025. The deficit for 2022 is $1,850, 278.

According to the 2023-2027 Capital Plan, total capital spending for general infrastructure and utility projects for the 2022-2027 period is forecast at $24,582,966: 2022, $3,526,072; 2023, $3,230,310; 2024, $4,323,000; 2025, $4,009, 672; 2026, $6,307,752; 2027, $2,917,300.

The 2022 Operating Budget, 2023-25 Operating Plan and 2023-2027 Capital Plan were passed by council in a 5-1 vote. Mayor Simon Boersma, Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe, Councillor Jenn Anheliger, Councillor Roberta Balanko and Councillor Ray White voted in favour, with Councillor Scott Richardson opposed. Councillor Maurice St. Denis was not present for the virtual meeting.

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