Mil rates are up in new Village budget

By Korie Marshall

Village staff was disappointed at the low turnout for the public presentation of Valemount’s budget on April 8th, but had some useful information to offer. The presentation is available on the Village’s website, but here are some highlights.

Property taxes are collected by the Village, but not all the money goes to the Village – in fact, less than half does. Staff gave the example of a property assessed at $127,800 last year, which paid $650.63 into Village taxes (general municipal and water parcel tax) and a total of $889.26 for other agencies (regional district, school, policing, hospital, etc.)

Funds that make up the Village budget for this year are in three categories; General, Water and Sewer.

In the General category, sub-categories include Legislature (Council remuneration) – $50,000; general government (administration wages, some building maintenance, office expenses, etc.)- $922,500; Protective Services – $82,700; Transportation services (roads and airport) – $431,000; Environmental and Health Services – $73,000; Public Health and Welfare Services (cemetery) – $6,500; Recreation and Culture Services (tourism, parks, grant administration, some building maintenance) – $988,752; and Capital (assets and amortization – things like major repairs, Public Works fleet and equipment) – $145,296. That is a total of about $2.7 million in general spending this year.

In the Water category: Transmission and Distribution – $350,260; Principal Loan Installments – $37,900; and Amortization (or depreciation in value over time) – $13,150. That is a total of $401,310 for the water budget.
And in Sewer, there is Treatment and Disposal – $247,800; Capital (biggest item is the 5th Avenue lift station upgrade) – $784,200; and Amortization – $18,200. That gives a total of over $1.3 million for sewer.

That means a grand total of $4.26 million required for the Village budget this year. Minus funds expected from other sources, like grants, user fees and rentals, the Village is looking for $638,400 in taxation, about 23 per cent of the total revenue expected. That will come from taxable property within the village. Total taxable property value is just over $105 million, with just over 73 per cent of that in residential property and almost 26 per cent in business property. That leaves almost one per cent coming from the other property types, utilities, light industry and recreation.

The proposed mil rate (or tax ratio) for 2015 is 4.539 for residential (up from 4.347 last year) and for businesses it is 9.215 (up from 8.762). That means for a residential property valued at $100,000, you’d pay $453.90 in taxes towards the Village (plus taxes collected for other agencies). For a business property valued at the same, you’d pay $921.50. That is about a four per cent increase over last year.

An example that staff gave is that for a residential property assessed at $127,800 last year, the owner would have paid $555.54 in taxes for the Village. This year, property values went down just a bit on average – they dropped 0.36 per cent, so the property would now be worth $127,340. The owner would pay $578 this year, about $22 more than last year. Of course each property will be different, depending on the latest assessment. Taxes collected for other agencies may also increase as well.

Staff also gave a comparison between property taxes for the services residents get and the approximate costs of other household monthly costs. For example power bills, telephone and cell phone, cable and internet, home insurance, car insurance range between $65 and $100 per month for each service. But for a home valued at $127,800, municipal taxes and utilities total about $1257 per year, or $105 per month. That is less than $3.50 per day – or the price of a latte – for all of the services that the Village provides.

The financial bylaw was scheduled for third reading at Council’s April 14th meeting and both it and the tax rate bylaw need to be passed by May 15th, according to provincial legislation. The five-year financial plan is updated every spring and lays out what the Village plans to spend in the coming year as well as forecasts for the next four years. It is legislated to be a public process, and any amendments to the budget throughout the year have to be passed by amendment bylaws as well.

The full public presentation is available at http://www.valemount.ca/sites/default/files/docs/Finance/2015_Budget_Presentation_Reduced.pdf

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