MD increases mill rates to account for lost revenue

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The Municipal District (MD) of Willow Creek will increase its 2021 mill rates, that is its rates of taxation, to account for decreases in revenue.

At its April 14 meeting, the MD council approved the mill rates after hearing a report from Johanne Hannas, the MD’s director of finance.

In 2021, the farmland mill rate is 7.467, the residential mill rate is 3.759, and the linear and non-residential mill rate is 7.936.

She noted farmland is a regulated assessment and in accordance with the Municipal Government Act, the farmland assessment has not changed significantly for the 2021 tax year. The tax revenue will increase by 3.7 per cent over last year, by $38,902.

Residential assessment has increased slightly for the 2021 tax year. The tax revenue increase will increase by 2.5 per cent over last year, by $61,548.

The linear and non-residential assessment base decreased by $15 million due to annexation for the 2021 tax year. The tax revenue will decrease by 2.1 per cent over last year, by $119,276.

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All of the 2021 mill rates have been adjusted to reflect the loss of revenue.

Designated industrial property assessment has remained the same for the 2021 tax year.

There is no increase in council salaries for 2020 and 2021.

Staff hiring, wages and benefits are frozen for 2021.

Administration budget grants to recreation boards budget increase this year by approximately $90,000 due to the new intermunicipal recreation agreements.

The parks and recreation budget sees the winding up of park operations in Willow Creek, Clear Lake and Pine Coulee to reduce operational losses from approximately $130,000 annually to $25,000 from the 2022 budget year onwards, through the leasing of parks to a local service club.

An increase in administration budget of approximately $650,000 reflects the southern Alberta orthographic photo project being administered by the MD.

An increase in costs related to fuel, steel, lumber and pipe is also reflected in the 2021 budget.

The provincial policing cost charged to municipalities by the province increased by 50 per cent for the 2021 tax year, to $220,331 from $146,782.

Prior to 2020, all rural municipalities and urban municipalities under a population of 5,000 were not required to pay any direct costs related to frontline policing.

Beginning in 2020, the Alberta government made a decision to begin charging municipalities for policing costs.

Alberta Justice and the Solicitor General has indicated the costs borne by the MD of Willow Creek for policing services will increase from $146,82 in 2020 to $440,662 in 2024.

All of these costs are noted on the combined assessment and tax notice, along with the provincial school foundation fund and seniors’ requisition.

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