1. 2018 Tax Rates
The 2018 tax rate structure was discussed at length at the April 24th council meeting. It was noted that assessments are down significantly, so in order to maintain similar tax revenues as in 2017, the tax rates would have to increase slightly. It was generally accepted that the residential rate (including small “mom/pop” businesses) could be increased by 3%. More discussion took place on the non-residential rates with comments being made that we want to attract businesses to Clearwater County so we shouldn’t be raising taxes in this category too much. In reply to that it was noted that our non-residential rates are lower than most of our surrounding jurisdictions and that a 6% increase would bring us in line with the area average. In the end, this matter was tabled to the May 8th council meeting to give administration time to draft a bylaw suggesting a 3% increase for residential properties and a 6% increase for non-residential.
2. Audited Financial Statements
The 2017 audited financial statements were presented and showed an annual surplus of $1, 469, 330. On the revenue side it was noted that there were less than budgeted municipal taxes collected but higher revenues from well drilling taxes. On the expense side there was higher administrative costs and this was in part due to the severance packages paid out with the “administrative restructuring”. Less than budgeted costs were noted in protective services, public works/roads, waste authority, land use/planning, and recreation. Currently the county has $79, 545, 063 as “restricted surplus” (reserves) which the auditor described as “moderate” compared to the county’s spending.
3. Phase 2 Broadband
Public Engagement Plan Plans are proceeding to host meetings with three different stakeholder groups: the general public, the Internet Service Providers (ISP’s), and the local business people. Suggestions have been made to host meetings in the southern and central areas towards the end of May. Suggested dates are May 23, 24, 27, and 28 with possible locations being James River, Caroline, and Leslieville. All meeting dates, times, and locations will be verified after checking on hall availabilities and will be advertised in local papers and on the county’s website.
4. Leslieville/Condor Fire Hall Plans
There is no new information here as this matter was tabled until the May 8th council meeting so administration could gather more figures on the various options.
5. Manitok Energy Bankruptcy/County’s Loss
At the last CCTA meeting on April 12th, guest speaker Karl Zajes noted that Clearwater County is “out” over $500,000 dollars as a result of Manitok Energy declaring bankruptcy. Mr. Zajes had information listing the unsecured creditors involved in this case and noted that along with Clearwater County and other municipal jurisdictions, there are various local companies that are also affected. An article from the May 19th issue of The Red Deer Advocate entitled, “Municipalities fight for back taxes” listed Clearwater County along with Lacombe County and nine other municipalities involved in legal action.
ROSES: With Mother’s Day just around the corner we wish to send out very special bouquets of roses to all the mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers in our area. We want to recognize the most valuable contributions you make to our area with your untiring time, efforts, love, and dedication.
“God could not be everywhere and therefore He made Mothers.” Rudyard Kipling
“A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” Tenneva Jordan
“A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.” Annonymous
Next meetings: Thursday, May 10, 2018, 7:00PM Leslieville Community Hall with guest speaker
Thursday, June 28, 2018, 7:30PM, Arbutus Community Hall, regular monthly