Friday, April 26, 2019
COUNTY COUNCIL HIGHLIGHTS, APRIL 23, 2019
By Marianne Cole
Presentation by Mountain Rose Women's Shelter
Cindy Easton presented information with regards to their recent activities/ideas for dealing with homelessness in the county/Rocky Mtn. House area. She noted that the new Women’s Shelter (west of A &W) will hopefully be completed by August. This facility will only accommodate women and children so there is a need for places for men. Further renos are being considered for the Post House which may help cover that issue. Cindy was expressing the need for community involvement and they would like representation form Clearwater County Council on their Community Working Group on Homelessness. There was great discussion by Council on this issue and Council will consider their request for representation at their fall organizational meeting.
North Saskatchewan River Park Update
Roger Smolnicky, Recreation Director from the town, gave Council an up-date on the improvements geared for the NSRP. A grant of $375, 484 has been received and work will begin soon with hopes of having a covered grandstand in time for the pro chuckwagon races in August. Other improvements included power service, portable bleachers, fencing, and infield box upgrades.
Grant Funding for Community Halls Policy
Council approved a policy outlining the county’s method of approving grants for community halls. Annual allocations will be based on hall capacity, with $2500 allowed for halls with capacity of less than 250 and $5000 for larger halls.
Tax Rate Discussion
Significant discussion took place on proposed tax rates for 2019. It was pointed out that the actual tax dollars to be paid are based on the property assessment value from the previous year along with the tax rate to be established for the current year. It was also noted that added to the county’s portion is the province’s school requisition. The province uses the previous two years’ assessments in determining their rates.
With this in mind, estimates show that for residential and farm ratepayers there may be a 5.41% increase in school requisition while non-residential (business) may see a 13.8% increase. This would equate to $13.83 per $100,000 assessment for residences and $47.72 per $100,000 for businesses. That is without any increase in the municipal portion.
A 0% increase in municipal taxes would leave the County in a deficit of $434,331 for this year while a 1% increase would give the County a $35, 826 surplus.
****** It is important to note that the County currently has a restricted surplus of $95, 284, 283 (up $13, 603, 918 from 2017) and an unrestricted surplus of $1, 115, 104. The restricted surplus is divided into various categories including roads, bridges, facilities, broadband, etc. A final decision on the 2019 tax rate will be made in May.
Audited Financial Statements.
The County’s auditors presented the audited financial statement for 2018 and indicated that the county is in a favorable position financially. Revenue in 2018 ( $57, 964, 957) increased 13.14% over 2017 ($51, 184, 839) while expenses in 2018 ($51, 085, 449) increased 3.59% over 2017 ($49, 317, 003). The County Council and Administration should be commended for their fiscally responsible operation.