Falher budget maintains stable taxes

When taxpayers in the Town of Falher soon get their tax bills, they shouldn’t expect any big increases, or other costly surprises.
Town council recently adopted a 2002 operating budget of
$1,788,059, up from the 2001 budget of $1,683,397.
“We’ve maintained the tax levels required for the general municipal levy, while having been subjected to steep increases in insurance costs and professional fees,” said Town Administrator Gerard Nicolet.
The total tax rate for residential property falls 3.2 per cent, to 22.363 from 23.102.
For non-residential properties, the rate drops 1.82 per cent, to 25.134 from 25.600.
“Assuming there are no changes in your property assessment , residential taxes would be decreased by 3.2 per cent,” explained Nicolet. “However, due to an increase in market values in certain assessment categories, some residential properties are showing an increase assessment value.”
Taxes levied for the general municipal operating budget is $750,000, which this year includes ambulance requisition, he noted.
Last year, the total levy was $720,000, which excluded the ambulance figure of $27,900.
This year, the net cost of recreation for Falher has been budgeted at $129,150, which comprises 17 per cent of the total municipal levy, noted Nicolet.
Budget highlights
For 2002, council has had to bear with significant increases in costs of administration and waste-management.
General administration costs have jumped by about $30,000 due to an increase in insurance costs and professional fees, outlined Nicolet.
Waste-management costs have risen by $16,000 from 2001, due mainly to the approved purchase of a portable office for the landfill attendant.
In two years, total landfill costs have increased to $67,935 from $20,877, a direct result of new legislation controlling landfill operations throughout Alberta.
Since fire protection has been transferred to the Municipal District of Smoky River, costs to the town of Falher have fallen by about $21,000.
He noted that, several years ago, Falher introduced a policy to establish annual capital reserves in most budget functions for replacement and repairs of equipment and infrastructure.
Proposed capital expenditures
Three road projects proposed for this summer include:
– Curb and gutter and pavement on 2nd Street East in front of the Villa Beausejour seniors home.
– Construction of 1st Street East from 3rd Avenue to alley.
– Construction of 1st Street East from 7th Avenue to 9th Avenue (east of Ross Ag).
These capital projects are funded by the Infrastructure Canada-Alberta Program (ICAP), with $50,000 each from the municipal, provincial, and federal levels of government.
Funding for Falher’s contribution will come from reserve established for this purpose.
Summary by function
Legislative – $36,515
Administration – $281,237
Fire protection – $39,839
Ambulance services – $27,900
Common services – $92,000
Roads/walks/lights – $205,225
Water treatment – $412
Water distribution – $405 (net cost)
Waste collection – $3,000
Waste management – $42,935
Muni plan/zoning/dev. – $1,000
Community services – $40,343
Subdiv. Land/dev. – $8,900 (net cost)
Recreational board – $3,000
Arena – $52,490
Parks – $19,800
Ball diamonds – $4,100
Curling rink – $7,350
Wading pool – $9,120
Swimming pool – $26,410
Rec programs – $4,480
Campground – $5,400
Total rec programs – $129,150
Library – $15,228

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