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MD tax revenue to decline

The MD of Bonnyville will ask its taxpayers for less in 2010 than it did in 2009 — though not much less.

The MD of Bonnyville will ask its taxpayers for less in 2010 than it did in 2009 — though not much less.

MD council passed the 2010 budget and tax rates bylaw last week, authorizing administration to collect roughly $43 million in tax revenue, an amount that's $482,000 less than budgeted for in 2009 and roughly $702,000 less than what the MD actually levied in 2009.

The projected lower tax levy comes despite the fact that school requisitions the MD must pay have increased almost 2.6 per cent for 2010, to $8.96 million.

Most residential and farm property owners should see little difference between their 2009 and 2010 tax bills. The municipal tax rates for both classes of property remain the same this year as they were last year. The rate for non-residential assessment, which comprises about 67.6 per cent of the total assessment base, increases slightly.

Individual tax bills could decline or increase if a property's assessed value has changed.

The MD's final 2010 budget varies somewhat from the interim 2010 document that was passed back in December.

For starters, expenditures have changed for roads, with the latest budget press release heralding $20.3 million in road work as opposed to $19.9 million.

Road construction and maintenance takes up the largest share of the budget, but it wasn't the only focus of Reeve Ed Rondeau's comments after the budget passed.

“MD residents are concerned about maintaining road improvements, maintaining our current rural infrastructure, waste management and recreation,” Rondeau said. “By putting $20.3 million into roads, $700,000 into completing lagoon and lift station upgrades, $2.1 million into landfill operations and $7.2 million into recreation we are serving our residents.”

He said regional projects funded by the MD serve both MD residents and residents of neighbouring municipalities.

The budget includes $815,000 for the Town of Bonnyville and $126,000 for the Village of Glendon under the terms of the regional community development agreement. It also sets aside $1.1 million for the City of Cold Lake, should it decide to sign the regional agreement.

The capital side of the budget includes $3.5 million as the final allocation for the new transportation and utilities/agriculture service board shop and $500,000 from insurance proceeds for a new parks shop.

The construction of new administrative building space is being delayed to deal with other priorities, though the MD is going ahead with some soil testing and engineering expenditures for its administration building site.

Budgeted recreation expenses are substantially higher than actual expenses were in 2008 for the second year in a row. That reflects the fact the MD has earmarked $2.25 million in capital dollars for Kinosoo Ridge Snow Resort to finish off improvements to the resort. Actual 2009 recreation expenses totaled almost $9 million for operating and capital.

The cost of compensating council members and covering their expenses is scheduled to go up about 5.5 per cent from 2009's budget of $557,700 to $588,400 in 2010.