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Coalhurst passes first reading of mill rate bylaw

Posted on May 24, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

Coalhurst residents will see their first mill rate hike in five years.

During their regular May 16 meeting, Coalhurst town council discussed a mill rate bylaw for 2023.

Bylaw No. 444-23 – or the 2023 Mill Rate Bylaw – would allow for the town to set the rates of taxation against assessable properties within the town’s boundaries for the 2023 tax year.

“These figures come from the budget that’s passed, and the shortfalls of revenues is then made up then through taxation,” said Mike Passey, director of corporate services for the town.

The taxable assessment for the town this year is $313,157,760, which is a 9.38 per cent increase compared to the previous year. Additionally, due to budget requirements and assessment figures for 2023, the town’s residential and non-residential mill rates will each increase by 3.12 per cent.

Passey noted that the assessment is a “significant increase” compared to previous years, however, their mill rate has not increased for some time.

“The 2022 Mill Rate has been the same since 2018, so there hasn’t been a mill rate increase in five years,” said Passey. “So this is a fairly modest increase given the context of (history) and the context of inflation that we have been measuring across the province and country.”

Coun. Heather Caldwell stressed that council has been “really conscious” in budget deliberations and in keeping the mill rate from increasing in past years, as they didn’t want to burden citizens already dealing with cost-of-living increases.

“When you leave something at net zero, and you don’t look at increases over a period of time, you have to have a bit of an increase towards the end,” said Caldwell. “So 3.12 (per cent) may feel like it might be a little bit of a jump, but as (Passey) had indicated earlier, there hasn’t been a change for five years, and while we had gone through, and previous decisions while we go through COVID, we want to recognize that our citizens may be worried about their finances. And as we’ve been dealing with this inflation at our previous budget discussions – that was what we’ve talked about – we recognize (that), but while we’re having these conversations and making these budget decisions, the town has to continue to operate, and we are struggling with the same kind of financial decisions as our residents are, paying all our operating costs at an increase.”

As the Town has some recently-annexed land, once Lethbridge County passes their 2023 Mill Rate Bylaw, the Town of Coalhurst will adjust the annexed properties’ mill rates accordingly prior to second and third reading, should any changes occur in the county’s bylaw.

Additionally, this tax year, the province has eliminated the DIP Requisition for municipalities that collect less than $1,000, which includes the Town of Coalhurst.

According to the draft bylaw, the requisitions of the Town of Coalhurst are, as follows:

• Alberta School Foundation Fund (ASFF)

• Residential/Farmland: $708,905

• Non-residential: $53,946

– Green Acres Foundation: $44,337

The total assessment for the town is $313,157,760, with the assessed value of all property in the Town of Coalhurst as shown on the assessment roll being:

– Residential/Farmland: $298,382,240

– Non-residential: $14,755,940

– Machinery and Equipment: $ 19,580

Council performed first reading of the 2023 Mill Rate Bylaw.

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