Residential property taxes in Morinville would go up by 10% if the proposed 2023 budget were approved as is.
The proposed 2023-25 Operating Budget and 2023-2027 Capital Plan were presented by administration to council at its regular meeting Tuesday.
Under the proposed budget, the owner of an average residential home valued at $339,614 could expect to see a $271 annual increase, $23 per month, resulting in a $2,977 property tax bill for 2023, not including the school tax portion of the bill.
For an average commercial property valued at $810,641, the business could expect a $8,172 property tax bill, which makes for a $1,066 increase from the previous year. A business will see a $1,958 increase in tax for an average industrial property valued at $1,488,945, for a bill of $15,011.
The business figures reflect a rise in the residential-non-residential tax split to 1:1.15, from 1:1.1.
This year’s hike would be followed by one of 6% in 2024 and 5% in 2025.
According to Financial Services Manager Travis Nosko, the proposed budget includes an 8% increase in expenses, amounting to $1.845 million.
In his presentation to council, Nosko stated that the budget maintains service levels, with no major new operating initiatives for 2023.
This year’s rise would reduce the tax-supported deficit and increase overall reserve contributions by $270,000, while continued increases would allow for essential investments in reserves to support future capital expenditures.
He said that a budgeted $1.04 million rise in salaries, wages, benefits and training reflects a CUPE increase of 1.5% for all unionized staff, higher federal payroll taxes, a number of full-time equivalent position additions and training costs.
The remainder of the increase is driven by inflation and the increase to reserves.
Residential utilities costs will go up by an estimated $212 annually to $1,829, $152.38 monthly, with rises in water, sanitary, solid waste and stormwater rates.
The 2023 Capital Plan calls for an estimated $3,435 million in spending, mainly on ongoing infrastructure maintenance, repair and renewal programs, but including $185,000 for design work for a new Town Hall emergency generator and for finalization of the mandatory Alberta First Responders Radio Communications System project.
The plan will be funded through held-over provincial government funding and municipal reserves, with no 2023 tax revenue required
The proposed consolidated operating budget, comprising tax and utilities budgets, includes revenue of $26,254,914, including $12,334,121 in net taxation revenue and $7,680,959 in water, wastewater and solid waste fees.
Expenses total $25,499,516, plus other expenditures including debt principal of $1,035,753, offset by federal capital grants of $610,632.
For the tax-supported budget, revenue is set at $19,734,040, including transfers from utilities of $1,798,167.
Expenses of $19,734,040 include $10,794,239 for salaries, wages, benefits and training, $4,489, 451 for contracted and general services and $3,232,028 for materials goods and utilities.
Estimated revenue for the utility-supported budget is $8,319,041, with expenses of $7,563,643, providing for a surplus of $755, 398.
Making his first official statement to council, new Chief Administrative Officer Naleen Nayaran said that while he had not been very involved in the development of the proposed budget he was well briefed on it.
“There are some trying times ahead of us,” Nayaran stated. But you have a dedicated team, a strong team.
“I’m confident that what they are presenting here is done with the town’s best interests at heart and with an eye to the future.”
The proposed budget was introduced by General Manager of Administrative Services Michelle Hay.
“This budget helps provide the quality of life that Morinville residents expect, the services and programs that make the town of Morinville a community,” she said. “Administration and council must work collaboratively to find solutions to produce revenue to provide Morinville with a stable foundation to participate in the local opportunities to present themselves.”
Council voted to receive the proposed budget presentation as information.
The next consideration of the budget will take place on November 8, when council members will discuss it in detail and provide direction to administration on revisions and edits.
On November 22, the second draft of the budget will be presented and reviewed by council, followed by a public information session.
Approval of the budget is tentatively scheduled for December 6, although that might be extended if necessary.