By Cole Parkinson
The Municipal District of Taber has approved their 2020 operating and capital budgets.
At council’s regular meeting on May 12, councillors got one last look at the budgets before they were approved.
“The 2020 operating budget projects a $24,747 surplus. In 2019, the operating deficit was $535,422,” said Bryan Badura, director of corporate services.
The operating budget also includes a non-cash expense of $4,438,414 for amortization. Mill rates see increases of two per cent in residential, two per cent in non-residential and nine per cent in farmland which will result in an estimated $398,405 in additional tax revenues.
“Even though there are mill rate increases in the proposed operating budget, the average residential property will see a slight decrease in their property tax,” added Badura.
The operating budget also includes the implementation of a minimum amount of property tax payable per parcel.
Based on the 2019 tax year, an estimated 907 property tax rolls would be subject to a $30 minimum amount of property tax payable and the total tax revenue for these rolls in 2019 was $10,580 which equates to an additional $16,630 tax in revenues for 2020. Even with the increases to tax rates, the budget projects a net 2020 property tax revenue decrease of $134,885 from 2019. It also provides the same allowance for uncollectable taxes as 2019 in the non-residential assessment categories of $917,000, with current projections already as high as $2.5 million.
The M.D. had reserved $1,029,000 as uncollectable property tax attributable to oil and gas properties in 2018 and reserved $1,419,000 in 2019 while recovering $773,000 in previous years’ bad debts. At the end of day Dec. 31, 2019, the M.D. saw $2 million in non-residential property taxes outstanding.
The operating budget also projects to provide $2,585,305 in cash from operations, which is an increase of $285,909 from 2019. Cash from operations are funds that can be used for capital budget requirements or can be transferred to reserves for use in future years.
Capital acquired in the 2020 budget sees $25,000 for buildings, $1,562,000 in equipment, $145,000 in vehicles and $11,586,730 in engineered structures which totals $13,318,730. Capital funding comes from grants ($9,815,000), sale of assets ($749,000), transfer from reserve ($1,183,000) and transfer from operating function ($1,571,730) for a total of $13,318,730.
Capital grants are from $8,961,000 from the provincial government and $854,000 from the federal government.
Council unanimously approved the 2020 operating and capital budgets. They also unanimously carried all three readings for Bylaw 1964 – 2020 Property Tax.