BOYLE — Village of Boyle council approved the municipality’s 2022-2023 proposed budget as well as projections for the next three to five years, all cutting down to the bare bones.
With the positive report at the April 20 regular meeting from Kendra Stasiuk of Friesen, Viney, and Stasiuk Chartered Professional Accountants council tasked administration to produce a pared down balanced budget, approved at a special meeting April 28, which would prevent the need to raise taxes.
The budget document shows the municipality will generate $1,037,418 in revenue, down from the $1,444,735 amount actually spent in 2021. The projected 2021 budget was $2,036,827, so came in 34 per cent under what council expected even with the massive street project and increase in the cost of the water intake project.
“It’s that time of year again where the budgets are approved and now, we have to pay for what we plan to do this year,” said CAO Warren Griffin at the May 4 council meeting.
He added assistant CAO Tina George worked hard on producing the budget council requested.
“Tina’s been working on this as council wanted and directed to try and hold the budget to avoid a tax rate increase,” said Griffin.
Mayor Colin Derko agreed, “I feel what's been done here to balance our budget is not only responsible, but incredible work.”
In the coming years the 2023 projected budget moves slightly higher to $1,170,345 and cuts to bare bones for years until 2026 with proposed budgets of $205,345, $438,000, and $655,000 respectively before jumping to $1,860,000 in 2027 with council opting to plan for a major project further down the road and to try to recover from the economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We didn’t raise tax rates,” Griffin said in a May 6 interview. “We saw there was a slight increase in assessment on commercial properties so there was an increase in revenue.”
Coupled with a minor decrease in residential assessment council did not see the need to raise taxes.
“In the coming days … we will be increasing rates on utilities, user fees for recreation, that kind of thing,” he said. “They’re a little overdue for adjustments.”
The increase on commercial rates doesn’t offset the decrease on residential but it still wasn’t a good enough reason to increase taxes, council felt.
“Then you get hit double on the commercial businesses, so council didn't want that to happen and quite honestly, we're being optimistic of the economy,” said Griffin. “It's going to pick up and so we're hoping that assessments will start to climb up overall again next year. We should hopefully have an increase in revenue that way without first going to the tax rate.”
The residential rate remains at 9.9055 mills, or $9.9055 per every $1,000 of assessment value for the property. Farmland holds the line at 17.8926, non-residential and machinery and equipment are still at 17.8121.
The minimum payable as property tax for general municipal purposes is $500 for both residential and non-residential and $300 for each residential - mobile homes in park and residential - airport outbuildings.
The Alberta School Foundation Fund (ASFF) is set at 2.6878 for residential/farmland and 3.8780 for non-residential while the Greater North Foundation is at 0.1166 and designated industrial non-residential property has a mill rate of 0.0766.
Penalties on unpaid taxes are six per cent after Aug, 31, another six per cent after Sept. 30, and an additional six per cent after Oct. 31. If the taxes remain unpaid after Dec. 31, 2022, an additional 18 per cent will be added.
As noted by Stasiuk during the April 20 report, the total debt carried by the municipality is just over half the debt limit so there is some room if council decides to finance a project.
“I think the council has expressed their gratitude to administration, but I just want to say it again, for how hard you guys have worked on this and have brought us the information multiple times in a whole bunch of different ways,” said Derko. “You came at it from all directions, north, east, west, south, split the difference some days so, I think on behalf of council we just want to thank administration for always accommodating our tasks and coming up with the information we needed.”
Coun. Shelby Kiteley was absent and Coun. Barb Smith attended via Zoom, with Coun. Mike Antal, Coun. Patrick Ferguson and Derko in chambers for the vote.
The three councillors and mayor passed the first and second readings unanimously as well as the motion to go to third reading and approved the tax rate unanimously.