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Town of Castor drops sale price on tax property

And other highlights of the Aug. 14 council meeting
Town of Castor logo. (Town of Castor image)

A property that the Town of Castor is attempting to sell through a realtor after it failed to sell at a tax auction is getting a price drop, council decided during its Aug. 14 council meeting.

The property on 52 Street was put up for tax sale in 2022; under Alberta legislation, the dwelling can be sold by the municipality to recover the taxes outstanding on the property, but it must be sold at as close to market value as “reasonable,” according to chief administrative officer (CAO) Donna Rowland via the council request for council decision (RCD) in the agenda package.

An appraisal on the property had been completed in 2021, prior to it going up for tax sale; at the time the appraiser had been unable to gain entry to the premises and based their appraisal of anywhere between $32-48,000 on just an exterior inspection.

When the town listed the property, they listed it for around $40,000, based on valuation; however, since the town took possession of the property the chosen realtor has been able to get inside and has since recommended dropping the price around $20-25,000 due to “the high cost to repair or renovate” the property.

Rowland informed council that she had spoken to the town’s lawyers and was told that with the realtor recommending the price drop the town was legislatively “covered” to sell it at a lower price.

“It doesn’t do us any good sitting there,” said Coun. Don Sisson.

His other councillors agreed; a motion put forward by deputy Mayor Trudy Kilner to reduce the price passed unanimously.

Splash Park update

Council reviewed the survey that had been sent around the community regarding the potential construction of a splash park in the community.

According to Rowland, 75 per cent of the around 170 residents who returned the survey were in support of the splash part, with the majority in favour of the construction near the swimming pool.

The proposed location would be behind the swimming pool, leaving the emergency access gate at the northeast corner of the pool clear.

Coun. Cecil Yates, a councillor who has sat on the splash park exploration committee reiterated during the meeting that the facility would not be built without full funding, through grants, in place.

“Nothing gets done without total funding,” said Yates.

However, one concern brought forward by Kilner had less to do with the construction of the project, and more to do with ongoing maintenance and operation.

“We can not hit our residents with a tax increase to keep this up and running,” said Kilner.

Sisson agreed: “It’s got to be feasible.”

Yates put forward a motion to allow administration to begin the process of one, searching out grants for the construction of the facility, and two, begin collecting approximate costs for what it would take to operate a splash park in the community.

The motion does not commit the town to proceed with the project.

“If it’s too much, we won’t be going ahead,” said Yates.

Gas and Water

The town’s gas and water systems continue to show positive trends.

On the gas side of utilities, the system is operating at virtual break-even recording a loss of 0.2 per cent as of the end of June.

The Town’s water system also remains in territory somewhat more positive than it has in years past with a loss of seven per cent, a possible record low.

Unfortunately, Rowland tempered the positive water system news by informing council that a leak had been confirmed on the south side of town.

“It has come to surface,” said Rowland.

Rowland noted that, as of the meeting, the leak appeared to be small and that no residents were yet complaining of water pressure loss. While that is partially positive, she noted that it also has made the leak more difficult to locate, but crews would be getting after it.

Tax Levy update

According to Rowland, the Town of Castor’s tax collection situation is in a somewhat optimistic situation.

As of Aug. 14, the town has collected 78 per cent of the 2023 tax levy; Rowland noted that of the taxes outstanding a large percentage was on the tax payment plan and would be paid in full by the end of the year, leaving only a few for which a penalty has been applied, or for which could be seeing tax sale in 2024.

According to Rowland, fewer residents have had the penalty applied “than it has been in previous years.

Kevin Sabo

About the Author: Kevin Sabo

I’m Kevin Sabo. I’ve been a resident of the Castor area for the last 12 years and counting, first coming out here in my previous career as an EMT.
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