By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
An old Town of Castor Bylaw is getting an update.
Bylaw 879, the Property Tax Installment Payment bylaw, was introduced in 1998 and hasn’t been updated since. While municipalities are allowed to permit taxes to paid via installments, municipalities are required to have signed agreements in place with the residents seeking to use the program, as per section 340of the Municipal Government Act, which all municipalities are required to follow.
After review, Town of Castor administration has determined that over 100 residents in the community are on the payment plan, however no signed agreements exist.
To that end, administration has updated schedule ‘A’ of the bylaw and had it approved by council during their Jan. 11th meeting.
With the schedule updated, administration will send copies for signature to all affected residents. Residents wishing to remain on the tax installment program will be required to return the documents to the Town office.
“One hundred and twenty letters are going out next week,” said Chief Administrative Officer Christopher Robblee to council during the meeting.
“If they don’t sign, they will be taken off (the tax payment plan).”
The updated schedule modernizes the agreement between the Town and its residents, as well as sets out penalties if payments are not made.
In order to qualify for the tax installment payment plan, residential taxes must be paid in full the year before. Another change being made to the installment payment plan is that the Town will no longer accept post-dated cheques as payment.
Tax installment payments are due at the end of each month.
“(This update had) to happen because the bylaw exists,” said Robblee. The update was approved in a motion put forward by Deputy-Mayor Tony Nichols.
Town of Castor council has approved a new, more flexible, cemetery bylaw.
Bylaw 1083, which automatically repeals the previous bylaw, will allow for larger monuments than previously allowed. Previously, headstones were allowed to be 18” high, 42” wide, and 21” deep. The new bylaw allows the grave markers to be 30” tall.
Also covered in the bylaw are ‘trinkets’ which family members sometimes leave at the grave of their loved ones. Under the bylaw, these items will be removed as required, and stored for one year before disposed of. Items not in storable condition will be disposed of immediately.
“I think keeping the trinkets for a year is more than reasonable,” said Mayor Richard Elhard.
CAO Robblee did make it clear in the meeting that the items will only be removed if necessary.
“We will only move them if they are in the way,” said Robblee.
The Town of Castor has approved Bylaw 1082, the Operational Borrowing Bylaw.
This bylaw allows the municipality to establish a line of credit with a financial institution in order to keep up with operational expenses until all the taxes come in during the year.
“Council passes this bylaw every year,” said CAO Robblee.
“It’s passed because municipal budgets are unstable.”
The passing of this bylaw is a legislative requirement under sections 251 and 256 of the Municipal Government Act.
Two properties will be going up for tax auction on March 1st at 10 a.m.
Title numbers 052297092 and 172049029 will be auctioned off once the properties are assessed. The total outstanding taxes for the two properties are nearly $48,000.
Under the Municipal Government Act, properties can only proceed to tax sale by resolution of council. All costs associated to the tax sale are attached to the appropriate tax roll and recovered once the sale occurs.
The tax sale request was approved as presented, in a motion made by Coun. Rod Zinger.