MVC residential taxes rise by 4.1%, farmland by 2.7%
Residential property owners in Mountain View County will be paying 4.1 per cent more in taxes this year then they did in 2011 while farmland taxes are rising by 2.7 per cent.
“So overall it represents a moderate tax increase,” said Greg Wiens, county director of corporate services.
Council approved the 2012 tax rate bylaw last Wednesday.
County property owners will be shelling out $35,496,086 in taxes this year to support municipal operations, the Alberta School Foundation Fund, opted out school boards, Mountain View Seniors Housing, and Mountain View Regional Waste.
When passing the bylaw, several councillors said they all worked hard to try and not raise taxes at all.
All of the increases, including an average 0.5 per cent increase for non-residential taxpayers, are directly related to the provincial education tax collected for the Alberta School Foundation, said Wiens.
The province increased its requisition by 8.2 per cent more this year.
“We can’t absorb that, it’s too much money. We tried, but we just couldn’t do it,” said Div. 6 Coun. Paddy Munro.
Of the approximate $35.4 million Mountain View County taxpayers will be paying this year, $23,968,907 is being collected for Mountain View County operations, education taxes amount to $11,126,148, $280,721 is being collected for Mountain View senior’s Housing and $120,309 is being collected for Mountain View Regional Waste.
Property owners who have not made any changes or improvements to their properties would expect, on average, to pay the same amount of taxes to support municipal operations as they did in 2011, Wiens told council.
Before passing the tax rate bylaw, council approved the county’s operating and $16.2 capital budget.
Operating expenses are budgeted to increase by $2,159,000. The number includes $1.7 million in amortization operating expenses which doesn’t directly increase the amount of funds the county needs to collect for current year operations.
Other significant changes include the county’s increased education tax contribution of $983,000, $90,000 for the hiring of an airport manager, an increase of $108,000 to support funding for recreation and library facilities, an increase of $101,000 to support fire authorities, a three per cent cost of living adjustment and $95,000 extra for salaries and wages, as well as an increase of $358,100 for road maintenance programs.
Expenditures are decreasing by $405,000 related to re-organization cost savings and a decrease of just over $1 million related to non-recurring projects.
Council approved “a pretty aggressive” $16.2 million capital plan, Wiens said. Approximately $9 million in grants and funding from third parties will help pay for it.
The plan includes “some pretty significant projects,” Wiens said, including $2.7 million for the replacement of the Big Prairie Bridge.
A fire destroyed the bridge several years ago, limiting access in the area.
The county plans to use $1.3 million from the 2011 and 2012 Federal Gas Tax grant it receives, along with a $1.4 million grant from Alberta Transportation to fund the replacement.
Along with a few smaller projects, the county is cost-sharing the $5.4 million re-surfacing of the Burnt Timber Road with The MD of Big Horn and Shell.
Approximately $3.2 million is budgeted for local road projects, including $1.5 million for surfacing Township Road 332, and $800,000 for base work on Range Road 12.
“It does make it a bigger than average capital expenditure year,” Wiens said.
Smaller than originally planned amounts will be transferred into reserves this year, as council approved decreasing contributions to help balance its budget.
“I think it is a good budget, a budget that reflects our economic position and our slower growth,” said Wiens.
The overall economic outlook for Mountain View County in 2012 continues to be for moderate to low growth, he said.