Castor town council heard a report from their chief administrative officer (CAO) that efforts to trim the municipal budget have almost reached their end. The report was made at the April 11 regular meeting of council.
CAO Christopher Robblee, during the regular budget update, notified councillors that operational cuts to the budget are almost done. He added that, looking ahead to future budgets, if any more cuts are made they will have to come by cutting services.
Also during the report Robblee noted every department has higher expenses than revenue at this point and those departments won’t see revenue increasing until later in the year.
On the positive side, the CAO noted the town’s gas system has generated a $27,000 profit.
It was also noted that the county will forward recreation requisition at the end of the year. Councillors accepted the report as information.
Councillors examined the annual Paintearth Lodge requisition, the annual billing sent to the Town of Castor for the lodge’s operation. Robblee told councillors that any increase they saw was only due to assessment going up; the Town of Castor didn’t increase anything.
During discussion councillors noted the Towns of Castor and nearby Coronation have different rates. Deputy Mayor Trudy Kilner, who was chairing the meeting in Mayor Richard Elhard’s absence, noted that’s the rate sent to the Town of Castor.
The CAO stated that provincial equalized assessment is used for those calculations. Councillors unanimously accepted the Paintearth Lodge requisition as information.
Councillors examined the regular listings of accounts to be paid by the town. Among those that were discussed were the U7 softball tournament fees, physician house renovations (carpet, painting, flooring and doors) and staff footwear, among many others. It was noted the physician house costs are split three ways between the town, county and foundation.
Councillors discussed the town paying funds to new staff to purchase steel-toed boots; Robblee stated that it’s done even for staff who are probationary, and if they don’t pass probation the money is taken off the person’s final pay cheque.
Tax recovery transfers
During the cash statement report councillors passed a resolution related to the tax recovery process. This is the process that all municipalities use to recover unpaid property taxes: a legal process is employed to hold an auction for certain property and unpaid taxes and other debts are paid out of the auction proceeds, if the property sells.
Robblee requested councillors pass a resolution approving the transfer of the town’s expenses related to the tax recovery sale to the tax rolls involved. They unanimously did so.
Councillors read a letter of request from the Castor Rodeo. Organizers of the annual event were requesting funding from the town and even though CAO Robblee noted this is an annual request and is always granted, cash requests must come before, and be approved by, council.
Councillors unanimously approved the request.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review