The Town of Stettler held the line as far as budgets go at their regular meeting May 18, as councillors approved what amounts to a zero per cent tax increase budget.
Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Greg Switenky presented councillors with the results of their 2021 budget deliberations.
“COVID continues to take an unprecedented toll on our economy and the uncertainty into the Town of Stettler finances,” stated the staff memo to councillors.
“This budget assumes that programming revenue will not be back to pre-COVID levels, some revenue losses will continue through 2021 and will start recovery in July/August.
As such no additional revenue adjustments due to COVID have been made from the 2021 interim budget in December 2020.
Non-tax revenue impairment is real but not expected to be permanent given the nature of the services that the town provides.”
Switenky stated the budget numbers are very similar to 2020, and include a zero per cent residential tax rate increase and a zero per cent non-residential tax rate increase, with no increase to utility rates either; the CAO reminded everyone at the meeting all of the 2021 budget data is available for all residents to read on the town website.
The CAO also pointed out that during budget deliberations councillors had seven different options available to them this year, and they chose the zero/zero option.
Switenky further noted that councillors wanted to help the community cope with COVID issues by pushing the property tax deadline back to October from June and gave businesses in town a $150 gift from provincial Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) earlier this year.
Mayor Sean Nolls stated he liked the content of the budget and its presentation because it’s straightforward and easy for everyone to understand.
The CAO made one more point, reminding councillors that even though the town tax rates remain the same as 2020, a tax bill is calculated with property value in mind. If a property’s value increased from 2020, the owner could see their tax bill go up.
Councillors unanimously approved the 2021 budget as presented.
Tax rate bylaw
A few minutes later Switenky and Assistant CAO Steven Gerlitz presented councillors with the draft tax rate bylaw, which the CAO explained collects the money that councillors decided to spend in the budget.
The bylaw stated that the rates are the same as last year with general municipal – farmland/residential mill rate for 2021 at 6.8886, while the general municipal – non-residential mill remains at 9.0052.
It also stated that the total assessed value of all property within the Town of Stettler was $793,054,070.
Director of Operations Melissa Robbins presented councillors with the results of a tender for concrete and asphalt crushing and recommended the job be offered to Park Paving Ltd., which bid $89,450 for the work.
The other bid came from McKnight Enterprises Ltd., which bid $143,000 for the work.
Robbins stated this item is included in the 2021 budget and includes the crushing of concrete generated from town projects.
Councillors unanimously approved awarding the job to Park Paving Ltd.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review