Six per cent tax increase set for Ponoka residents

The $25 million operating and capital budget also sees an increase in utilities

Ponoka residents will see their taxes increase by six per cent for 2018.

Town council approved the $25 million budget on March 27 during the regular meeting, which also saw an increase to the town’s utility rates.

A break down of the budget shows the town sits with $17.8 million in operating and $7.4 million in capital spending with residents seeing an increase of about $43 per $100,000 of assessment. For commercial properties that number is about $56 per $100,000 of assessment.

The town’s overall assessment increased by $20 million from 2017. “This consists of $9 million of new assessment and market increase of $11.6 million due to inflation,” states the town’s budget preamble.

Areas of major focus for this budget brought consideration for the new learning centre with $727,000 set aside. Of that, $125,000 comes from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding.

Another $1.34 million is tentatively being set aside for what is being dubbed as the wellness centre (or field house), which expands the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex. This was possible from a bit of a windfall from the province but it’s unclear how it will eventually come to the town.

“They’re releasing an additional funding this year. It’s just over $1 million,” said Sandra Lund, director of corporate services.

“We can’t directly put the money into a reserve.”

“This is strictly for capital projects only,” explained Mayor Bonnett, saying that council can’t reduce the tax increase with MSI funds.

A preliminary design of the field house is phase 1 of the project, which proposes the full project be done in four total phases, which is dependent on funding as it becomes available. This includes enhancements to the current building (phase 2), a new aquatics facility (phase 3), and a new community centre (phase 4).

MSI on its way out

The initiative was started in 2007 and was meant to only go for 10 years, explained Bonnett.

In hearing from the province, Bonnett believes the MSI funding may continue until 2021 but that’s not a guarantee. What is for certain, is that it is coming to an end relatively soon.

New part time bylaw officer

The town has approved a new part time bylaw officer at about $60,000 per year, which includes the associated costs for the contract position.

Hearing residents’ desire for a proper bylaw officer program, council approved this new program, which is intended to bring education to residents on town bylaw issues. However, if there are repeat offenders, enforcement will be the next step, states the town.

Another area the town accessed funds was from projects at a stand still.

Council directed administration cancel the $166,000 MSI funding for the Hudson Green Nature and Activity Centre. For now it appears there’s no major plans for the Hudson Green property.

Ponoka’s water fees to increase

The North Red Deer Water Commission, of which the town is a member, informed the town that water rates will increase by 4 cents per cubic metre in 2018. The last time the water changed was in 2014.

To adjust for the change, residents’ consumption rates have increased to $2.69 from $2.65 per cubic metre.

“These increases are required to generate enough income to fund operations and for current and future capital projects,” states the town’s preamble to council.

Garbage will also increase.

The town’s contract with Green for Life will see the flat rate for garbage pick up increase to $26, up from $24.32. This includes $6.48 for recycling.

Couple that with sewer increases the average user should see close to $5 increase in their utility bill.

***Correction***

A correction was made to this story to clarify that the $1.34 million in MSI funding tentatively set aside for the wellness centre is actually the additional $1 million provided by the province. There was no other shuffling of funds. In addition, the bylaw officer is actually a contract position and the money for the program is to pay for the services. We regret the error.

 

Mayor Rick Bonnett

Just Posted

Ponoka sets reserve prices on tax arrear properties

An auction date has been set for Oct. 31 with two properties up for auction

Ponoka approves full organics compost program

Planners begin the process of requesting competitive bids to update the waste management program

Bashaw council declines penalty forgiveness request from Bashaw Motel owners

The motel was destroyed in the 2016 fire; owners owe $46,000 in fire services, taxes and penalties

Ponoka could receive $15,000 in work safety refunds

The last time Ponoka’s safety manual was updated was in 2009

Ponoka’s Ronnie Racing wins Hot August Night

About 15,000 people filled the Castrol Raceway stands at the motorsports complex

UPDATED: Gord Bamford Foundation Charity Gala brings the stars to Central Alberta

The Gala raises money for various children’s charities throughout Canada

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Said he and Trump arranged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Canada’s team chasing elusive gold medal at women’s baseball World Cup

Canada, ranked No. 2 behind Japan, opens play Wednesday against No. 10 Hong Kong

WATCH: Paradise Shore’s lawyer granted adjournment of SDAB hearing

Appellant asks for stop work order of RV development

Kim XO is Black Press Media’s fashionista

Starting Sept. 7, stylist Kim XO will host Fashion Fridays on the Life channel on Black Press Media

Feds agree to look at easing jury secrecy as part of review

At issue is a law that forbids jurors from talking about closed-door deliberations

Most Read