Moosomin council holds the line on taxes

June 19, 2018, 2:12 am
Kevin Weedmark

Enbridge contributed $60,000 to projects in Moosomin in a cheque presentation at the Tim Hortons Outdoor Eventplex on Wednesday, June 13 -- $35,000 will go toward developing an outdoor event-plex and a hot tub project, while $25,000 will be used by the Moosomin Fire Department toward purchase of a new aerial platform truck. Pictured are (front row, from left) Ryan Kitchen and Joanne Bradbury, Enbridge; Catherine Mannle (assistant recreation director). Second and third rows (from left):  Peter Nabholz, Chief Rob Hanson, Mike Cooper and Trevor Green (Moosomin Fire Department); Murray Gray (counc

Moosomin town council has passed its 2018 budget, leaving taxes unchanged for this year.

The mill rate remains at 11.5, where it was set last year, and the minimum tax remains at $500. The minimum tax affects 122 properties.

Mill rate factors remain the same as last year as well—.6 for agricultural land, .785 for residential properties, and 1.8 for commercial properties.

A five per cent discount on the municipal portion of property taxes is in place for taxes paid by September 30.

Last year, the provincial government eliminated natural gas tax grants as of April 1, 2017. this has been restored effective April 1, 2018. Annual revenue from the tax grant is $64,000, but because it is restored for only part of 2018, the town expects to receive $48,000 from the tax grant in 2018.

The town will receive $545,663 in provincial revenue sharing in 2018, a decrease of $39,891 from the $585,554 the town received in 2017.

While the tax rate has not changed at all, the tax levy will bring in an additional $62,000 this year because of new buildings being added to the tax roll. The town took in $3,006,580 in taxes in 2017, and will take in $3,068,511 this year.

Total income for the town, including fees, charges, taxes, grants, and revenue sharing, will be $5,472,793 this year, up $129,118 from $5,343,675 last year.

The town has budgeted for a $28,718 surplus this year, after actual surpluses ranging from $4,415 to $142,287 over the last four years. Unlike higher levels of government, towns and other municipal governments cannot by law run deficits.

Mayor Larry Tomlinson said the town council went into the budgeting process this year with the intention of holding the line on taxes.

“Because of the provincial assessment changes last year and how that affected people, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t have any tax increase this year,” he said.

He said that, with all the competing demands on the town’s resources, it’s tough to keep spending in line. “It is very tough, but we succeeded in doing that for this year,” he said.

He said outside help, like Saskatchewan Highways covering the cost of repaving Main Street/Highway 8, and Enbridge stepping up with major donations for recreation and the new fire truck, are a big help.

“That makes a big difference,” he said. “Some of the stuff Mike (Schwean) wanted to do in recreation he’s been wanting to do for a long time, and the Enbridge donation means it can happen. The paving of Main Street would cost us $1 million. To have that taken care of helps us a lot.”

He said the town’s overall financial health is good. “We’ve got some reserves at this point and we’re doing good,” he said.

The town continues to pay an annual loan payment of $219,942.75 for the town’s share of the cost of the Southeast Integrated Care Centre. That loan will be paid off in 2022.

New pavement
In the public works department, the town has budgeted $335,000 for recapping and new pavement, and $150,000 for pavement repair for water breaks etc.

Saskatchewan Highways plans to repave Main Street (Highway 8) with the full cost covered by the department. The town crew will be doing some work in preparation for Main Street paving, including repairing storm drains and raising manholes while the project is being completed.
Fire truck
The fire department has sourced a used 1998 104 foot aerial platform truck at a total cost of $250,000, and is awaiting delivery. The fire department has been actively fundraising, and has raised $125,000 toward the cost. A fundraising barbecue is coming up this Friday evening at the Borderland Co-op C-Store. Donations will also be accepted there, and the Co-op will match any donations made at the event.

The town has budgeted $62,500 for its share of the cost of the new truck. The town contributes about $40,000 per year to the fire department reserve fund to help cover the cost of capital purchases.

Protective services
The town will spend an estimated $214,000 on RCMP services and $7,100 for Commissionaires to provide bylaw enforcement services.

Public Works department
The town plans to lease a new base model pickup for the public works department. The town has purchased two riding mowers for $24,500, a weed sprayer for $5,000, safety fencing for $4,500, and a utility trailer for $2,500. The town will work on rebuilding the base on Wright Road, using its own workforce, and some rented equipment.

Utilities department
The town has had ACME Sewer Services complete spot repairs of sewer main piping for $35,000 and will have the same company perform sewer main cleaning for $35,000.

The town had H&H Directional Drilling of Virden bore and install a new six inch sewer force main (replacing a four inch line) from the lift station near the Co-op feed mill to the point where it ties into the gravity sewer on North Front Street. The town will have Municipal Utilities repair the lift station near the Co-op feed mill for $32,000.

The town has also budgeted $3,200 for repairs to the lift station near the Co-op C-store.

The town has had ATAP Infrastructure Management swab the water mains and teach public works employees to do the work at a cost of $8,500. The town has hired MPE Engineering to perform a Phase 1 study to determine the requirement and location of a water boosting station.

The public works department will also be working on replacing water main valves in streets as many are seized and cannot be closed. Proper operation of the water valves allows specific areas to be isolated and sut off while water breaks are being repaired as opposed to large numbers of customers having to be without water during water breaks.

The public works is planning a on completing water and swerr main replacemnt as part of planned rehabilitation. The town plans on purchasing an alumin trench cage for $15,000 for employee safety while repairing water and sewer main breaks.

With the help of a grant from Enbridge, the town will be constructing a flag garden, a gazebo, will complete the outdoor stage area at the Tim Hortons Outdoor Eventplex, will create 12 camp sites at Bradley park, and will install a hot tub at the swimming pool.

At the Sportsplex, an electronic card access system will be installed at a cost of $6,000.

At Bradley Park, shale will be place to topdress the ball diamonds.