Well, it’s that time of year again. You and I are doing our tax returns and the Town Council is starting to work on this year’s budget. A tedious but very important exercise.
The major plank in any budget process is acquiring the necessary funds for the various services we have to provide and ensuring there is adequate funding for infrastructure projects. In other words “Tax Dollars.” In the past we have done this by using a minimum tax system which sees a set minimum tax being assessed on all properties and then the Provincial assessment on each property is applied using the Town Mil rate and in this way we raise the amount of dollars required to meet our needs.
While nothing is written in stone, we have as a council, been looking at a “Base” rate system as a possible alternative. A “Base” system means that we would assess how much it costs to provide all of the basic, essential services, that all homes require (garbage collection etc. etc.) and would share that cost equally amongst all home owners. Then your assessment in conjunction with the Town Mil Rate would provide the rest of the necessary funding. To cut a long story short a “Base” system would provide a reduction of the Mil Rate which would reduce the taxes on some homes with an increase in taxes to others for a fairer sharing of the cost of essential services. Some of the pros and cons were discussed at our April Council meeting and a special Budget meeting is slated for May 1st at which time there will be further consideration given to this issue. The town Budget is your Budget if you have any thoughts on where our priorities should be let us know ASAP.
Also under consideration is the implementation of a long term plan for street maintenance.
In order to allow us to extend the life of our streets we are embarking on an experiment which will see a couple of those streets crack filled and sealed. If this process is successful we will be able to lengthen the time needed to repair all of the streets in a more permanent fashion.
Staffing needs were addressed at the meeting with a decision to hire another full time Utility Operator. Retain two of our student employees and hire two part time employees who would continue their employment through the winter months looking after the Hockey and Curling Rinks. Student staffing for the winter months will be dealt with at a later date.
Some of the back lanes in town are in need of serious upgrading. Over the years the lanes have acquired run off problems and need to be repaired. To this end we are in the process of checking the lane levels and having them brought back to the original specifications. The town has purchased a small Champion Grader which will be ideal for this work.
Also purchased this month was a Street Sweeper attachment for the Bobcat. After renting one this year we were impressed with the efficiency and speed of this equipment thus the purchase.
Most of the Council members went on Tour on Monday16th and had the opportunity to inspect the water treatment and waste water facilities as well as the town shop and recycling depot. This will become a regular (quarterly) project and will help us to identify infrastructure needs before they become emergencies.
The Municipal Road project is still proceeding as planned and it is hoped that the Engineering will be completed by the end of April allowing us to Tender the work early May.
It’s early days but I want to give you an assessment of where we’re at from the Mayors’ perspective. I’m confident we have a good crew of town employees and I expect this to get even better with the new hires. While the council is a diverse group, we appear to be able to work together without any major problems and our permanent office staff of Murray and Tereena are doing an excellent job. In other words I’m confident that we are moving in the right direction. Watch this space for further developments!!!
Town of Coronach Committees
As promised here is a list of the main committees and the Aldermen who are on these committees. Many of the committees are jointly sponsored (Town / RM) and also have members at large drawn from the community. I am only listing the Town representatives and remind you the reason behind publishing these names is for your convenience when you have a concern, idea or suggestion you wish to bring to the attention of the appropriate committee.
An easy way to do this is to put your thoughts on paper and drop it off at the Town Office addressed to the appropriate councillor.
Health Care: Troy Bartlett, George Peacock
Public Works: Emerson Jones, Dean Moser, Cory Schnell, Troy Bartlett, George Peacock
Personnel: Sylvia Nelson, Tom McLay, Dean Moser, Emerson Jones
EMO: Dean Moser
Economic Development: George Peacock, Sylvia Nelson
Tourism: Emerson Jones, Sylvia Nelson
Poplar River Park Board: Tom McLay, Cory Schnell
Coronach Cemetery Committee: Emerson Jones, Dean Moser
Fire Protection: Emerson Jones, Troy Bartlett, Cory Schnell
Museum: Dean Moser, Sylvia Nelson
Pretty Valley Housing: Sylvia Nelson
Chamber of Commerce: Sylvia Nelson, Emerson Jones
Rural Development: Sylvia Nelson
Recycling: Troy Bartlett, Emerson Jones, Cory Schnell