By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Coaldale town council has approved a bylaw for a special recreation levy.
During their regular April 26 meeting, Coaldale town council passed a Special Recreation Tax Bylaw.
Bylaw 812-C-04-21 allows the town to set a special recreation levy of $120 to each developed residential parcel of land within town limits, to help fund the new recreation centre.
According to the town’s Capital Plan, the design and construction of a recreation facility within the town has a budgeted cost of $13 million, and funded through a $10 million debenture serviced in part by the levy, and $3 million in provincial MSI capital grant funding.
A version of this bylaw has been passed in previous years. Coun. Doreen Lloyd said a lot people had felt the levy was a hardship and asked if they started fundraising to raise money for the recreation centre, if they would be able to eliminate the levy.
Director of Corporate Services Kyle Beauchamp said the budget for this would be over the life of the debenture debt to pay for the facility, which is 25 years, and it would be required over the same amount “at this time.”
“Possible grant fundraising and what not, again, those are potential additional revenues. However, the extent that we could possibly receive from naming rights and what not would be small in consideration of the total cost of the project,” said Beauchamp. “If somebody came to the Town of Coaldale and wrote a cheque for $5 million to have their name on it, it definitely would change things, and again, since this bylaw is passed by council every year, that could change in the future, but to this point, we don’t anticipate a $5 million, say, cheque coming for naming rights of the facility. It’ll be great if it did, it’s just not something we’re realistically expecting at this time.”
When asked if they could do it another way so it’s more equitable, Beauchamp said the rational behind it was a facility like this is a user-pay system, where everyone pays the same amount and they have access to the facility. An alternative to this is to raise the municipal tax mill rate to fund the deficit.
Mayor Kim Craig stated the special tax was to make it more transparent and there was a link between the levy and the facility, and it does’t get diluted into the town’s revenues. He said spreading it out through the mill rate would be more “unbalanced,” as those with a higher property tax would pay more.
Council passed all three readings of the bylaw.