By Marianne Cole
2021 Tax Rate
At their April 27th meeting, Councillors unanimously passed a motion to maintain a 0% tax rate increase for 2021. During an informative discussion it was noted that with lower assessments county taxpayers should see a small decrease in their tax bills. An unknown factor would be the school requisition which is determined by the province.
Another very positive move came from a motion made by Councillor Lougheed to have administration gather information on a potential rebate that could be given to taxpayers. The money for that could come from the tax rate stabilization reserves which currently sit at $12, 898, 394. Further information will be presented to Council at their May 11th meeting. Let’s hope this new rebate idea gets official ratification at that time.
At the April 13th meeting, by a vote of 4-3, Council defeated a motion made by Councillor Vandermeer to postpone the Municipal Development Plan Review until such time as Covid restrictions would be eased and in-person meetings could be held. This was a very strong request put forward on the survey done by the CCTA in the Western Star in February as well as during the virtual/on-line meetings held at that time. Interestingly, at the MDP Review Committee meeting held on March 13th, the committee (made up of all councillors) favored postponing the review. Now, one month later, when an official motion is made, 4 councillors (Duncan, Laird, Laing, and Swanson) voted against the postponement.
As explained by Planning the next step is for them to review the original draft along with public comments made, and make changes as suggested. They will then bring that draft back to Council for review and 1st reading. That will be followed by a public hearing in some way and then 2nd and 3rd reading could take place. The timeline for all this could be May---July.
In order for Council to have valid, verifiable information on the support for/opposition to the most contentious issue of subdivisions, the CCTA has written a letter suggesting that a survey on the matter be included with the tax notices to be sent out shortly. This would allow all taxpayers equal opportunity to voice their opinion and it is hoped that the results would then guide Council’s decisions.
Solid Waste Disposal Cards
As most of you likely know, as of June 1st all county residents will require a special card in order to drop off waste at their regional landfills. Landowners can get for 2 free cards while renters will need to pay $35.00 for their cards. In questioning that difference, it was explained that landowners already support the operation of waste disposal services through the property taxes they pay.
As for other waste disposal matters, most notably questions/concerns about the future of the now closed, formerly joint-use facility in town, I was told that “discussions are on-going”. We will keep you posted on any happenings there.
On April 23, 2021, Clearwater County and the Town of Rocky Mtn. House finally approved their Inter-municipal Collaboration Framework. This is a document, mandated by the province, that stipulates how the two jurisdictions will work together on planning and jointly used services. While the county had easily signed agreements with all their other neighbors, it took quite some time to come to an agreement with the town.
At the same time a new Community Support Service Agreement was also signed. This mandates that for the next 5 years, the county will pay the town $406, 644 yearly to cover infrastructure costs. That figure was reached following careful calculation of the value of the tax-exempt properties that both municipalities have within the other’s jurisdiction. This new agreement replaces the former long-standing agreement that the county would pay the town $750,000 annually for general operating costs. We certainly commend the county negotiating team/council on their diligence in developing this new agreement.
Why should you start a gardening business??? To rake in the cash.
What kind of garden did the baker have??? A flour garden.
Why did the gardener bury all her money??? To make her soil rich.
Currently uncertain due to Covid Restrictions, but we hope to have a regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 7:30PM at the Arbutus Community Hall. Everyone welcome.