By Justin Seward
Redcliff town council passed second and third reading of the River Valley Potable Water and Fire Hydrants Local Improvement project’s tax and borrowing bylaws at its May 11 meeting.
The purpose of this project is to provide potable water distribution and fire hydrants to the properties that directly benefit on Josephine Avenue and Court SW
“This is all started with the people down at the river asking for some (potable water) because right now they’re on well water,” said Redcliff Mayor Dwight Kilpatrick.
“Plus with no hydrants and stuff, their house insurance is expensive. This was basically a push from that.”
The borrowing bylaw allows the town to go to the Alberta Municipal Financial Corporation and borrow the money, while the project’s tax bylaw lays out what the project is for and how who will pay it back.
The cost of the project is $431,161.50 and the amount paid back by the benefitting owner is $210,739.14 . The town as a benefitting owner will pay $ $120,422.36 and the municipality at large will pay $100,000.
The local improvement tax will be collected by the over 20 years in the amount of $1,930.44.
This project is considered under the local improvement category because it will provide a substantial increase in municipal services for a small number of residents, it’s being driven by residents in the area, the service was not provided for the residents in the area when the lots were created and does not include the town’s water servicing network.
“Now what will happen is a tender will be awarded and after that when the project is completed, we will actually do the borrowing because you’re only allowed to adjust those bylaws once,” said Kilpatrick.
“What we’ll do is when everything is finalized, maybe by fall, we’ll crunch the numbers and go ahead and finish the project. The residents down there have the option of paying it (in) lump sums or putting on to their taxes in installment payments.”
Kilpatrick says although the bylaw is written for over 20 years that if they got together and said they do not want to pay that much interest, that they could pay in five or ten year installments.
“It’s their collective borrowing bylaw, so they can collectively decide on whatever they want,” he said.
“Some of them may opt to go one way and some may opt to go the other.”
The three principal drivers of the project were that the residents had seen an increase in their fire insurance rates and the private hydrant on Sunvalley Ct. had been ruled to be sub-standard by the insurance industry. A customer on River Road receives raw water from the town’s reservoir supply line and would like potable water and Alberta Environment and Parks had identified issues with residents drawing water from the river and issued them to stop.
“They’ll have much better fire coverage and a lower insurance rate once the project is done,” he said.
Kilpatrick anticipates this project to start shortly and finalized by the fall.
Tax Rate Bylaw
The amount required to raise taxes in order to cover the town’s budget came in at $5.5 million for this year, slightly up from the $5.48 in 2019. The residential and non-residential assessment growth was between 1.25 and 1.44 per cent, resulting in a lower mill rate.
Other highlights in the agenda package that council approved included seeing the average residential taxpayer saving $72.43 on their bills, non-residential saving $331 on their bills and farmland has saving over $1,800.
The government cancelled the Education Property Tax adjustment back in 2020 and will remain the same as 2019.
Penalty Deferral Bylaw
Council approved the newly formed Bylaw 1907/2020- Penalty Deferral Bylaw. The bylaw was made after council’s initial motion in March to help with temporary financial relief for residents and businesses due to the province’s COVID-19 health emergency.
“Administration’s understanding of council’s motion on (March 23)was to extend all deadlines for utilities by an additional 120 days from the March billing date, essentially waiving penalties on utilities for two billing cycles; extending the transfer of non-payment of utilities to taxes for January / February billing to 180 days, extending the transfer of non-payment of utilities to taxes for March / April billing to 120 days and postponing the property tax penalty of five per cent by three months from July 1 to Oct.1.”
Skate park project
Council approved an additional request of $140,000 to complete Phase 2 of the skate park project. This will allow for both Phase 1 and 2 be completed in the same year. Phase 1 has an estimating cost of $225,000 cost and Phase 2 design cost came in at $215,000. The Community and Protective Services department applied for a CFEP grant and was successful at obtaining $100,000. The project has over $314,000 available. However, COVID-19 slowed down with the sub-committee’s donation campaign and any funds obtained will offset a cost and the unspent project money will go back into the town’s reserve fund.
A preliminary start for Phase 1 is late summer as the design is done and a conceptual design has been done for Phase 2.
The skateboard park will be located next to the aquatic centre.