Village of Halkirk at sunset, May 25, 2022. (Kevin Sabo/Stettler Independent)

Village of Halkirk at sunset, May 25, 2022. (Kevin Sabo/Stettler Independent)

Village of Halkirk holding the line on taxes

The Village of Halkirk is holding the line on taxes for at least one more year.

Council approved Bylaw #007-2022, the tax bylaw, during their May 25 council meeting.

In total, expenses for the village are estimated to be just under $410,000, with $312,000 coming from utilities, fees, grants and all other sources of revenue, leaving just over $100,000 to be raised through taxation.

Of the $410,000, over $25,000 is being collected for schools requisitions, designated industrial properties, and seniors housing.

With decreasing population and assessments, village council, during their May strategic planning sessions, opted to keep the taxes where they were to provide an incentive and hopefully draw new residents and businesses into the small community located 40 kilometres east of Stettler.

The minimum tax rate in the village is $475.

Operating budget

The Village of Halkirk’s 2022 operating budget is forcing the council to plan for a nearly $60,000 transfer from reserves to keep it balanced.

Under the Municipal Government Act, municipalities in Alberta are not allowed to run deficit budgets and any shortfalls must come from reserves.

Unfortunately, with revenue forecasts and anticipated expenditures not expected to improve the three year budget for 2023 to 2025 is showing around the same reserve transfer for those years as well.

To ensure that the village has access to needed funds should anything major occur, council has approved the creation of a line of credit bylaw.

The bylaw, which needs to be advertised allowing for community response, will be approved at a later council meeting.

One piece of mixed financial news for the village is confirmation of 2022 Municipal Sustainability Initiative Funding.

While the funding has been approved, Halkirk’s capital allocation in 2022 is down to just under $55,000, or approximately 40 per cent of the 2021 allocation.

The allocation for 2022 operating is just over $25,000 which includes $11,000 in “Sustainable Investment funding.”

Another grant, from the federal government, has also been approved for 2022.

The Canada Community Building Fund, formerly the Gas Tax Fund, has been approved to the village with an allocation of $50,000.

Bylaws

One of the major issues flagged in the village’s viability review was its bylaws.

The few that it had were dated and some necessary ones were missing.

To resolve the issue, chief administrative officer Tamara Sloboda will begin crafting updated bylaws and bringing several back to council each meeting.

Bylaws started during the May 25 meeting include a Nuisance Bylaw pertaining to untidy and unsightly properties, an animal control bylaw, a campground bylaw and a fees and rates for the campground bylaw.

Sloboda noted that any bylaws the village brings in must be enforceable.

“You need to make sure it is easy for the residents to comply,” said Sloboda during the meeting.

With the bylaw issues slowly being resolved, the next issue at hand the village council is looking into is bylaw enforcement.

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