By Mallorie Rast, Kindersley Social, June 1, 2017
In the press release on May 24, the Council announced the newly approved 2017 budget, outlining funding and tax information.
As expected, the budget promised a large amount of resources to the new indoor aquatic centre, totalling just under $6.5 million. Mill rates were dropped by more than 5 mills, as the Counsil reasoned that new properties in the area allowed the tax revenue to remain comparable to 2016. The majority of Kindersley residents will see less than a $100 increase in municipal taxes, but will see a $200 increase per household for education.
“The counsel worked very hard to ‘hold the line’, as far as taxes go,” confirmed Councillor Randy Ervine. “Even with the major projects in the works, I think we have managed to do just that.” Councillor Ervine noted that the education taxes are not under the council’s jurisdiction, but rather under the local school division.
The budget also included a wage reduction to town employees, and channeled funds into reserve for further developing Kindersley’s Fire Department. Also receiving attention were some improvement projects, including the development of a new landfill, the replacement of the traffic lights on Main Street, and upgrades to the Norman Ritchie Centre.
“We have weighed out many options for our 2017 direction,” concluded Ervine, “and I believe we have chosen the best possible route.”
The full press release reads as follows:
“Kindersley Town Council’s first budget of the term will result in a mill rate drop of more than 5 mills and spending on certain infrastructure and other programs put on hold as funding slows and Council focuses attention on the design-build of the new indoor aquatic centre.
At its May 24 Regular Meeting, Council approved a new uniform mill rate of 9.7. The mill rate is a figure that represents the amount per $1,000 of the assessed value of a property, which is used to calculate the amount of property tax. The mill rate was influenced by significant increases to property assessments in Kindersley, many of which were close to double the value of the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency’s (SAMA) assessments in 2013. With several new properties joining the tax roll in 2017, the Town was able to lower the mill rate and still achieve near equivalent tax revenue as achieved in 2016.
Council dedicated $6.35 million to the new aquatic centre, approximately $1.3 million of which is already set aside in reserves. It is hoped that most of the remaining funds needed will be collected through sponsorships and fundraising, although Council approved a capital loan of up to $3.5 million to cover costs in the interim.
After loans and transfers from reserves, Kindersley’s 2017 Budget projects a surplus of $248,336.
Other notable factors of the approved 2017 Budget include a $300,000 reduction in employee wages, and transfers to reserves in the amount of $950,680 for projects including the fire hall, fire truck, and future utility development. Kindersley was also impacted by cuts to the Province’s grants in lieu program. Approximately $33 million less funding was distributed to Saskatchewan municipalities in 2017 in the forms of grants paid to local municipalities in lieu of property taxes for provincial lands and buildings.
The majority of taxpayers will see an increase of less than $100 to their municipal tax levy. Only about 10 percent of residential taxpayers will experience an increase of more than $100. However, all taxpayers will pay an average increase of $200 per household in education tax, an amount that was set by the Province of Saskatchewan earlier this year and by law is collected by the Town for the school board.
In addition to the aquatic centre, other major capital projects for 2017 that will receive funding or monies set aside include Kindersley’s portion of the new regional landfill ($745,000), the new wastewater lagoon ($5 million), and regular paving and sidewalk reconstruction ($1.15 million).
Other highlights of the 2017 Budget:
- Total capital grant funding of $3,874,250
- Indoor Aquatic Centre ($6,350,000)
- Wastewater Lagoon and Sewer Main ($5,000,000)
- Western Regional Landfill development ($750,000)
- Replacement of Main Street Traffic Lights ($200,000)
- Paving of Airport Helipad Access and Taxi C ($116,600)
- Improvements to Norman Ritchie Community Centre ($86,900)
- Kinsmen Park upgrades ($40,000)
- Westberry soccer pitch ($70,000)
- Long-term debt repayment of $865,648
- $203,837 reduction in operating grants
- Revenue Sharing Grant (reduction of $101,000)
- SaskEnergy revenue (loss of $72,500 )
The Town of Kindersley’s fiscal health remains strong with $9,128,985 in reserves as of December 31, 2016. At the end of 2017, after contributing to several capital projects, total reserves will be $7,852,261
By comparison, many municipalities across Saskatchewan are seeing tax levy increases as follows:
For detailed information on the 2017 Budget, visit: www.kindersley.ca/budget.”
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