ELK POINT – Property taxes saw an increase across the board for Elk Point ratepayers when town council set their 2023 mill rates at the April 24 meeting.
All residential and farmland property will be taxed at 10.0234 mills, compared to 9.7227 mills in 2022, while the non-residential property mill rate climbs from 21.6268 mills last year to 22.0080 mills, the vacant non-residential property rate increases from 23.9208 mills last year to 24.3020 mills.
Alberta School Foundation Fund levies also increased, going to 2.5412 mills from 2.4144 mills for residential and farm land and to 3.7059 mills from 3.6588 mills last year.
This year’s only decreases were on the tax on Designated Industrial Property, which saw a drop to 0.0746 mills from O.0766 mills a year ago, and the MD of St. Paul Seniors Foundation levy, which was slashed to 0,2725 mills from 0.4068 mills the last time around.
The Taxation Rates Bylaw received all three readings, but not before Mayor Parrish Tung told council that he was approached by a ratepayer after the last budget meeting who reminded him that this was a rough year. The mayor suggested that the year’s surplus could be cut back to $100, 000 from $150,000, but was reminded by council that those extra funds could be needed if unexpected expenses are encountered, and agreed to leave the bylaw unchanged.
The Property Tax Bylaw was one of two on last week’s agenda, with the updated Assessment Subclass Bylaw receiving a new clause, dividing all residential and non-residential assessment class property into assessment sub-classes: (a) Residential Class I Property: (i) Residential, and (b) Non Residential Class 2 Property: (i) Non-residential, and (ii) Vacant Non-residential.
The Elk Point Recreation Park Campground Usage and Rates Policy was also brought to council, with no changes, and was approved for another year.
Support for tournament
The Elk Point Emergency Services Golf Tournament is back for another year, and after hearing a rundown on the event from Jonny Nielsen earlier in the meeting, Council agreed to provide a Gold sponsorship donation of $500, and authorized a team to attend at their own cost for registration. Nielsen said the organizers are hoping to have 18 teams take part in the June 7 tournament this year.
FCSS Director Lynn Smid visited council, reporting that to date 300 income tax returns have been completed through the volunteer income tax program, including many in Elk Point. The amalgamation of the Town of St. Paul and County of St. Paul and Elk Point FCSS departments “went rather smoothly. I’m not too concerned about getting this off the ground. The message is the same throughout the region and the move to the new office is a huge step forward.” A grand opening for the Elk Point office is slated for May 10, with coffee and doughnuts in the morning and ribbon cutting at 1 p.m.
Long service recognized
A special part of Monday’s meeting was the presentation of an award to CAO Ken Gwozdz, who was recognized for 30 years of full time paid employment in municipal service in a management capacity by both town council and the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators.
Elk Point will once again be part of the June 17 Lemonade Day event facilitated in this area by Community Futures St. Paul and Smoky Lake. In addition to making a $100 donation toward prizes, the town was asked to issue a business license for the one-day event to participating youths, provide a judge for the preliminary lemonade tasting and on the day of the event and to provide a simple lease if the stands are to be placed on municipal land.
Town council will once again take a summer break from meetings, after voting to cancel the July 24 and Aug. 14 meetings.
Council also approved closure of the Town Office and Public Works on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 16 for the staff’s spring team building event.
The F. G. Miller High School yearbook will receive support from the Town of Elk Point this year, with council agreeing to purchase a quarter-page ad in the publication, which is now in its 61st year.
A vacant dwelling owned by the town due to unpaid taxes has been declared dangerous to public safety and is in unsightly condition, The CAO was directed to proceed with demolishing and removing the building and to then invite local realtors to sell the property as well as two town-owned lots in the trailer park.
Coun. Wanda Cochrane reported that six of the nine raised beds have now been spoken for and the group will be doing a walk-around to determine the beds’ locations on May 2. A presentation on raised bed gardening is scheduled for May 28 and Daphne Schnurer has planned a perennial exchange for that day as well.
The town’s application for a $200,000 Alberta Community Partnership Intermunicipal Collaboration grant for a regional water, wastewater and utilities master plan has been denied, due lack of funding for the number of applications submitted. Administration will reapply in the fall for the 2023-24 version of the grant.
Council received a message of thanks from the management of the Healthcare Centre, Heritage Lodge residents, the Comfort Clinic and concerned citizens for the town’s bylaw restricting heavy truck traffic on 50 Ave. and their consideration for safety.
Subdivision to proceed
Following discussions in closed session, council passed a motion to direct the CAO to proceed with the subdivision of a 35-acre parcel into industrial lots, following the drafted North Buffalo Trail Intermunicipal Area Structure Plan.