Moosomin residents facing property tax hike

June 15, 2015 7:54 am
Kevin Weedmark

Moosomin residents will be facing a tax increase this year as the town faces increasing infrastructure costs.

The municipal mill rate is increasing from 12.5 mills to 14.5 mills, a 16 per cent increase in the municipal portion of property taxes, which also include an education portion.

The overall impact of the rates will be about an 11.4 per cent increase for residential taxpayers, a 13.1 per cent increase for agricultural taxpayers, and a 9.6 per cent increase for commercial taxpayers.

The extra two mills of taxation will bring in about $320,000 for the town.
The mill rate had been at 12.5 mills for 2013 and 2014. Before that, it was 21 mills, but was reduced in 2013 because of a reassessment.

The town of Moosomin will also impose a minimum tax for the first time, with a minimum tax of $250 for residential improvements.

The minimum tax will affect 128 taxpayers and bring in an additional $13,794.07 in taxes.

Mayor Larry Tomlinson said a lot of work and a lot of debate went into this year’s budget.

“It was a lot of work—I don’t think we’ve ever put this much work into a budget before,” he said.

“We didn’t want to raise taxes, but after what we had last year with three floods, we need the money.

“Maybe taxes should have gone up a bit over the years and we would have a bit of a cushion, but we didn’t raise them over the years and now we need the money.”

Tomlinson said there was a lot of debate around the council table over the minimum tax.

“There was a lot of debate about that, but we put the $250 minimum tax in because there are 128 residents that weren’t paying even that much, but they get the same services as everyone else. We need money to operate the town and it’s important that everyone contribute. It’s unbelievable there are that many whose taxes are that low. Some councillors thought we should be higher on the minimum tax, but we had to start somewhere.”

The two mill tax increase will cover all the essentials for the town this year, and additional tax revenue will be triggered next year when new developments such as recent condo projects are taxed for a full year.

There is a lot of work to do on the town’s infrastructure, says Tomlinson
“Carleton Street still isn’t finished,” he said. “We will be replacing the whole water line for the block that’s dug up, and some of the sewer line still needs to be replaced this year, so it can be paved next year.”

Tomlinson said he would have preferred doing more paving this year, but there just isn’t the money.

“We took the budget, looked at what we have to do for water and sewer first, and then we took the money we had left and put it into paving, and $300,000 is what we had left. We would have wanted to do more paving for sure, but we didn’t have the money to do it.

“We also had a lot of work at the lagoon. We did a lot of rip rapping out there. We still have a portion to do on the south side, also have to cut a chunk between cells 4 and 5.”

Tomlinson said he knows some taxpayers may be unhappy with the tax increase, but “in order to do what we need to do, we need money. We face a lot of infrastructure needs, and we may need to expand our water treatment capacity. We are running close to capacity now and we have a new hotel and Pipestone Villas coming. We used 380,000 gallons of water the other day and we’re only treating 390,000.”

Infrastructure is a huge item in this budget.

The town has applied under the Building Canada Fund to extend the Wright Road sewer for $300,000. If the grant is approved, the cost will be shared equally between the town, the provincial and the federal governments.

The town has already had Acme Sewer reline the sewer line on Ellice Street for $268,700.

Because of erosion of the new sewage lagoon cell, $75,000 has been earmarked for repair work.

The town will be leasing a garbage compactor for $69,000 per year to extend the life of the landfill site. The purchase price of the machine would be $514,000.

The town has also begun leasing a new Cat 323F Trackhoe at a cost of $26,900 per year. The town is also purchasing a skid steer with broom, water and gutter broom attachment for $69,000, purchasing a 2010 John Deere 544K loader coming off lease for $42,000, and purchasing a used pickup truck for $20,000.
The town will spend $300,000 on paving this year, $100,000 for patching and $200,000 for recapping streets. That’s significantly less than the $500,000 spent last year.

Because of flooding in 2014, a lot of work had to be done at the pool, including a new liner, circulating pump, boiler, filters, water slide pump and building repairs. The town qualified under PDAP, but the town is responsible for the deductible of $82,699.44.

Servicing one of the well pumps will cost $40,000, repairing and replacing fire hydrants will cost $20,000.

The cost of protection services is also rising.

RCMP costs are rising by $15,760 this year to $174,100.

The Moosomin Fire Department will purchase a new truck at a cost of $334,651. The town will cover half the cost and the RM of Moosomin, RM of Martin, RM of Maryfield, RM of Walpole and Moosomin Regional Park pay the other half of the cost.

The budget also includes $8,000 for two self contained breathing apparatuses.
Starting Aug. 1 curbside recycling will begin, at a cost of $10 per month per household. Residents will see their first charges on the utility bills issued Nov. 1.

The town will receive $558,920 in provincial revenue sharing this year, up $17,781 from last year. It will also receive $141,148 from the gas tax.