Moosomin taxes up one mill

May 30, 2016 8:05 am
Kevin Weedmark

Moosomin residents will be facing a tax increase this year as the town faces increasing infrastructure costs.

The municipal mill rate is increasing from 14.5 to 15.5 mills.

Last year, the municipal mill rate increased from 12.5 mills to 14.5 mills.

This year’s tax increase represents an overall property tax increase (including municipal and education taxes) of 5.1 per cent for residential properties, 4.4 per cent for commercial properties, and 6.6 per cent fro agricultural land.

A minimum tax of $250 for properties with residential improvements was put in place last year. That is being increased to $400 this year.

Last year, the $250 minimum tax affected 128 properties. This year’s $400 minimum tax will affect 174 properties.
The increase in the mill rate, combined with new properties being added to the tax roll, will provide the town with substantial additional revenue. Tax revenue has been growing in recent years, in part because of new properties being built and added to the tax base.

Property taxes brought in $1,812,691 in 2012, $1,981,060 in 2013, $2,043,907 in 2014, and $2,660,925 last year. This year the town will levy $2,733,499 in property taxes.
Total revenue for the town this year is projected to be $5,766,268, and total expenditures are budgeted at $5,757,652, for a budgeted surplus of $8,616.

In addition to revenue from property taxes, the town will receive $572,210 in revenue sharing from the provincial government, up by just over $13,000 from last year, and $148,106 in gas tax funding, up $7,000 from last year.
Under a new recycling funding program, Multi-Material Stewardship Western will pay the town $14,393 to help with the costs of recycling.

Mayor Larry Tomlinson said there was some debate over how high to raise the minimum tax as council came up with the budget.

“We brought in the minimum tax because everybody gets the same services, and it’s good if everyone pays a basic amount toward those services,” he said. “We thought it was fair to bring it up to $400 this year.”

He said the budget committee went into the process hoping to hold the line on taxes, but because of the need for new equipment such a street sweeper and a compactor for the landfill that the town started leasing last year, and because of the need to start building reserves, the decision was made to add one mill to property taxes.

“We were hoping to be able to hold the line, but with our equipment needs, and the infrastructure work that needs to be done, there was no way around the increase,” Tomlinson said.

“When we got to the end we decided we had to add that one mill. You always have something unexpected that comes along. We should be building our reserves, and now we’re starting to put some away. We have to. I’m a believer that you need a bit of a cushion. There hasn’t been a lot in reserve but we’re starting to put some away.”

The budget includes $90,000 for patching pavement, $190,000 for recapping streets, $117,000 to repair and smooth out the Main Street railway crossing, and $25,000 to crack seal pavement.

The public works department includes the purchase of a new Husqvarna mower for $13,100, purchase of a Vermeer wood chipper for $20,500 and purchase of a used pickup truck for $20,000.

The town will begin lease payments on a new street sweeper. The new street sweeper, including warranty through the lease period, will cost $70,000 per year. There will be lease payments of $36,000 this year as the vehicle was purchased part way through the year.

The town will continue with the seven year lease for the 2015 Caterpillar Landfill Compactor, at a cost of $70,500 per year.

The Fire Department will obtain four self contained breathing apparatus for $1,300 each, a rescue saw for $2,200 and hoses/nozzles/adapters for $3,500.

The fire department plans to sell a 1984 Chevy fire truck, a 1977 Ford Econoline van, a 1989 Ford water truck, and a 1997 Ford former ambulance, and purchase a used four door 4x4 truck with a topper to hold foam, blowers, scene signs and other equipment.

In the utilities department, the town will continue with the three-year rotation for sewer main cleaning for $20,000, and has allocated $20,000 to clean/video the storm sewer piping system. The town will work with engineers to do preliminary review/design for a new or upgraded water treatment plant. The town is also purchasing a new trench safety cage and trailer for $25,000 and purchasing a used generator for the water treatment plant to ensure continued operation of the water treatment plant during power outages for an estimated $25,000. The town has also budgeted $16,000 to purchase a valve exerciser which is required to open and close valves for maintenance purposes.

The town will also continue with the five year lease of a 2015 track hoe for $28,500 per year.

RCMP costs are estimated to increase from $170,352 to $179,000.

Property owners who pay their property taxes by September 30 will be eligible for a five per cent discount on the municipal portion of their property tax bill.