Village of Montrose reduces proposed tax increase

Montrose residents will most likely be paying an extra 2.5 per cent on their next property tax bill after Monday night's bylaw readings.

Montrose residents will most likely be paying an extra 2.5 per cent on their next property tax bill after Monday night’s bylaw readings.

The updated 2015 Property Tax Rate Bylaw was seen and voted on by council members through the third reading after Chief Administrative Officer, Bryan Teasdale, along with village staff, worked for the last couple of months to keep tax increases low and spending plans on track.

What started as a three per cent increase in property taxes outlined in an early budget draft, has dropped, generating just over $11,000 more for the village than last year which, as Teasdale says, is not very much

“If you look at it as an extra $11,167 on an annual budget for a municipality to do things, that isn’t that much,” he told council at their April 7 meeting. “That covers things like power and extra gas and maybe some CUPE wages.”

In order to drop the proposed property tax increase of three per cent, Teasdale says staff did a little bit of financial juggling and applied for grants.

“Some of the things that have happened here include a $1,000 scholarship for me to take a course,” he said. “That was in the expenditure side of things, and now that goes on the revenue side. We transferred some money, moved some things around, cut back on a couple little things like tools and we ended up with a 2.5 per cent increase.”

Also addressed at the meeting was the 2015 draft budget within the 2015-2019 Montrose Financial Plan bylaw.

A five-year financial plan is a highly educated guess, projecting the future spending in the village. The 2015 budget numbers were used for the first year of the plan, with 2016-2019 numbers added to see what the next few years could look like.

“The five-year financial plan is usually for big ticket items,” said Teasdale.

“If there is a big repair or an upgrade that we know we are going to do, but maybe not this year, I can put it in the five-year financial plan and council know what is coming up. It is about what is to come.”

The financial plan bylaw was passed through first, second and third reading at Monday’s meeting, and will be put through final reading for adoption, along with the tax rate bylaw amendment, on May 4.

But first, the village will be hosting a public consultation period, hearing questions and concerns from Montrose ratepayers on different budget items and the larger five-year plan.

“It is an open house for anyone in the village,” said Teasdale.

“They can ask any questions about the budget and what is going on this year. The meeting is for the 2015 budget and the five-year financial plan.”

The public consultation starts at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers, on May 4. The regular council meeting will start at 7 p.m.