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Town of Elk Point’s mill rates climb for a second year

Elk Point property tax bills will climb again this year, despite town council’s best efforts to keep them down.
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ELK POINT – Elk Point property tax bills will climb again this year, despite town council’s best efforts to keep them down. General Municipal rates on Residential and Farm Land go from 10.0234 mills to 10.6048 mill, on Non-Residential from 22.0080 mills to 23.2845 mills and for Non-Residential Vacant from 24.3020 mills to 25.7115 mills.

The Alberta School Foundation Fund levies this year also saw an increase to 2.5348 mills for Residential and Farm Land compared to 2.5412 mills in 2023, and 3.7569 mills for Non-Residential compared to 3.7059 mills.

Last year’s decrease on Designated Industrial Property saw a drop to 0.0746 mills from O.0766 mills in 2022, but this year sees the mill rate back up to 0.0765, just slightly below the 2022 figure. The MD of St. Paul Seniors Foundation levy also dropped last year to 0,2725 mills from 0.4068 mills in 2022, but is now higher than the 2022 figure at 0.5043 mills.

The mill rates were set after a second detailed go-round on income and expenses before Elk Point Town council’s April 4 special meeting, with those discussions carried over to the April 8 regular meeting, along with a final discussion on the town’s involvement with Elk Point Airport and the decrease in expenses if that involvement was ended.

Airport scratched off budget

That discussion saw Coun. Tim Smereka remind council that even if the town decided to back away from their decision to purchase the airport from the province in partnership with the County of St. Paul, Elk Point would still have involvement through the STEP alliance.

A motion to rescind the Dec. 11, 2023 resolution to partner with the County of St. Paul to purchase the Elk Point Airport was passed. A subsequent motion was passed that the county and the province are to be notified that as of June 1, 2024, the town will no longer wishes to operate the Elk Point Airport, with Coun. Jason Boorse, who asked prior to the vote, “Are we sacrificing partnerships?” voting against the motion.

The 2024 Operating Budget, which drops expenses to a 5.8 per cent increase from 8.2 per cent with the removal of airport costs, was then approved, along with the 10-year Capital Plan and the 10-year Equipment Replacement Plan.

Auditor's report

This year’s financial decisions came to council following the annual visit by auditor Jeff Alliston of Matrix Group LLP, who went through the 2023 Audit Findings Report. The report showed income of $4,406,466, well above both the budgeted $4,139,117 and the previous year’s $4,033,910.

Expenses, which at $4,490,306 were well below the budgeted $4,625,654, were up 11 per cent from 2022’s $4,031,087. Financial assets were up from $4,949,865 in 2022 to $5,635,371, liabilities increased from $2,286,585 to $2,316,907, with net financial assets increasing to $3,318,464 from $2,663,280, and when added to non-financial assets of tangible capital assets and prepaid expenses, came to an accumulated surplus of $25,482,545, slightly below 2022’s total of $25,519,172.

Alliston also assured council the Town is well under its debt servicing limit.

Elk Point Investment Corporation

The Town’s solicitors inadvertently forgot to include the establishment of the Municipal Controlled Corporation, Elk Point Investment Corporation, when council approved the Green Building Corporation, with the auditors catching this during the audit process. Following the Dec. 11 public hearing, the resolution was prepared, and on April 8, Council passed the required resolution in accordance with the Municipal Government Act requirements.

Lemonade Day

Mayor Tung has now proclaimed June 15 as Lemonade Day in Elk Point, following a request from Community Futures. The Town will issue business licenses to the youths involved in Lemonade Day and enter into a simple lease with any young entrepreneurs that wish to locate on municipal property.

The Town has also been asked to provide a judge for both the tasting day and Lemonade Day itself.

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