Coming Up At Council Tuesday Mar. 26

compiled by Staff

Morinville Town Council will meet at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, and the agenda will include various items.

Tax Bylaw

The 2024 Property Tax Bylaw will be presented to Council for the first reading. It proposes a tax rate adjustment to accommodate higher-than-expected revenue from increased property assessments. With 39% real growth and 61% inflationary growth, the proposed allocation redistributes surplus revenue: capital reserves receive funds from real growth, while inflationary growth surplus benefits residents through reduced tax rates. 

For 2024, total assessed value increases outpaced estimates, affording Council options to maintain rates, increase capital reserves, or balance both.

The draft bylaw proposes a total municipal tax levy of $13,195,089, impacting residential and commercial taxpayers. 

Council’s decision will dictate adjustments to the operating budget and capital reserve transfers. Alternatives presented in the report include slightly reducing the tax levy, impacting future reserves, or retaining estimated rates, investing in capital reserves for future sustainability.

Council Remuneration

The Council Remuneration Review Committee Bylaw, proposed for consideration on March 26, 2024, aims to establish a framework for a committee responsible for reviewing and recommending fair 

compensation for Morinville’s elected officials. The rationale behind the bylaw is to adhere to the Municipal Government Act, ensuring neutrality by restricting Council members from serving on the committee. Instead, it mandates that the committee comprise solely of Morinville electors. The committee’s mandate includes reviewing remuneration and benefits, recommending revisions to related policies, and proposing methodologies for future adjustments. Moreover, the selection process aligns with existing policies for appointments, albeit with exceptions due to the unique nature of this committee.

The formation of this committee is expected to have several impacts, including ensuring equitable compensation, demonstrating accountability, and fostering public trust. Financially, committee members would be eligible for honorariums, with potential budgetary impacts based on their recommendations to the Council. The timeline for the committee’s work is projected to span from March to August 2024, within the current operating budget. Following the approval of the bylaw, the Council would proceed to review the committee’s recommendations later in the year.

Strategic Plan Update

The Morinville 2022-2025 Strategic Plan Update will be presented to Council on March 26. 

The recommendation includes approving the amended Strategic Plan while rescinding redundant policies and motions. The updated plan functions as a decision-making framework, directing resources while aligning with the municipality’s vision and mission. Its implementation involves a comprehensive corporate planning and reporting framework, supporting transparency and accountability. 

Several amendments have been made to the Morinville 2022-2025 Strategic Plan, particularly concerning core values, priorities, and objectives. In the core values section, “Accountability and Service Excellence” has been updated to “Accountability, Transparency, and Service Excellence,” emphasizing a commitment to openness and clear communication. 

Priority amendments include refining the goal statement for “Community Building” to recognize Morinville as a mid-sized community while maintaining its small-town feel, and adjusting objectives to ensure residents and businesses have opportunities to engage actively and are informed of decision-making processes. 

Additionally, amendments have been made to goals and objectives related to community safety and well-being, financial stewardship, environmental responsibility, economic development, and collaborative relationships, aiming to streamline language, broaden scope, and remove specific targets or objectives due to feasibility limitations. 

These updates reflect a collaborative approach to address community needs and values while ensuring clarity and relevance in achieving strategic objectives.

Utility Bylaw Update

The Utility Bylaw Update will be presented on March 26, 2024, and aims to inform the Council about forthcoming changes to the utility bylaws and initiate a discussion on potential discretionary items for incorporation into the updated bylaws. 

Currently, Morinville utilizes four bylaws to regulate utility services, ensuring compliance with relevant legislation and industry standards. The last significant update to the utility bylaws was prior to 2012, with subsequent annual updates primarily focusing on fees and charges. 

The proposed updates address various aspects, including liability protection clauses, infrastructure maintenance, connection requirements, enforcement provisions, and formatting for improved clarity. Additionally, the Storm Bylaw is set to be amalgamated with the Sanitary Bylaw to streamline administrative processes.

Among the potential discretionary items for Council consideration are water conservation measures, utility rate model changes, and drought preparedness initiatives. These options aim to promote responsible water usage, incentivize conservation, and prepare for potential drought conditions. 

The next steps involve Administration gathering data for the approved discretionary items and returning to Council in the second quarter of 2024 with updates to the bylaws for first reading. 

Closed Session

The March 26 agenda includes three items for closed session. These include a Personnel Matter, CAO Recruitment and Evaluation Committee Update, and Annual CAO Performance Evaluation.

We will have full coverage of key items later this week.

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