Property taxes will hold steady for Sexsmith residents

·4 min read

Sexsmith residents will see not see an increase in their taxes this year, though non-residential properties will see an increase of about three per cent, said Sexsmith chief administrative officer (CAO) Rachel Wueschner.

The mill rate for residential properties is set at 7.5777 and non-residential at 16.7931.

The small business rate will stay the same at 12.2737, she said.

Council will discuss if they will create another extension to the tax deadline as they did last year at the next meeting on June 21.

The tax deadline is currently set for July 31.

Council voted to approve the five-year capital budget and three-year operating budgets.

A new expenditure that has come down on provincial municipalities including Sexsmith are policing costs.

“The province is now requiring communities under 5,000 people to contribute to police funding, and they're doing it in a graduated style, where every year we're going to need to pay more until we get to a certain point,” said Wueschner.

“We've never had to pay before.”

Wueschner noted that with COVID last year, residents might see what will looks like increases in expenditures this year but in actuality events that were shelved last summer may be staged in 2021.

One of the biggest goals of council was the town’s stormwater management work, she said.

Council voted to accept the information presented on the stormwater project engineering fees, a project that has gone over budget.

The project's original estimated cost was around $3.4 million and is now potentially $5 million, said Wueschner.

She said that the original assessment did not consider the flood the town experienced in 2020.

“We now have those numbers, and when the engineers use those numbers in their modelling it was found that the whole project had to be recalibrated to meet those demands,” said Wueschner.

Taller and larger berms come with a significant cost increase, so the town is looking at possibly taking away some work that was planned for 95 Avenue to help balance the cost and to get back on budget, said Wueschner. She added provincial approval would be required.

The Municipal Development Plan (MDP) had a public hearing before the council meeting Monday evening. With no one in attendance to oppose, council voted the bylaw into effect.

“It is now the plan for the community, and we'll be posting that on the website for anyone who's interested, and it'll help lead our future development within the municipality,” said Wueschner.

“Our previous MDP was from 1999, it was completely out of date, and so we needed a new plan, so that's why we undertook this work.”

The MDP is intended to provide a framework for the town's development into the future for residents and developers.

Facilities task force struck: Council will create a facilities committee consisting of three councillors and a member of the administration, with a spot open in the future for a consultant.

The councillors on the committee are Bruce Black, Clint Froehlick, and Dennis Stredulinsky, along with Melody Sample from the administration.

The new committee will consult with community groups and town departments to better understand facility needs as the town has found increasing needs for space.

Tent folded: Council voted in favour of selling a large town-owned tent that was labour intensive to erect and required all of the public works staff to set up and takedown. The approximately 10-year-old tent will go up for auction with Ritchie Brothers. The town may use proceeds from the sale of the tent to fund smaller, more versatile models.

Youth engagement: Council hopes to create more youth engagement by launching a yearly naming contest of town landmarks. The first of these could be the creek that runs through the town or the pond along the highway, which is currently called Swan Pond due to the swans that frequent the lake, said Wueschner.

Council will be asking the sustainability committee to help with a budget of $300 with funds coming from the park council budget.

Staffer designated: Trena Huson, Administrative Supervisor, has been designated as a Certified Local Government Manager (CLGM). The designation is awarded to senior managers in Alberta who have successful completed the society’s professional education program and five years as a senior manager in the local government.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News

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