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RM council approves 2020 financial plan

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A combination of reduced expenditures and an increase in assessment has allowed the Rural Municipality of Dauphin to drop its mill rate.
“During the preparation of the 2020 Financial Plan, Council recognized that this year, COVID-19 has created a number of unique challenges for all of our ratepayers,” Reeve Ron Ryz said during a public hearing on the financial plan.
“While ensuring that our level of service remained consistent, Council was able to reduce the total expenditures in 2020, which allowed for the removal of the remaining transfer from accumulated surplus. Additionally, an overall assessment increase of 9.4 per cent, allowed us to decrease the mill rate to 20.794.”
Ryz warned each ratepayer will be affected differently as the assessment was not consistent over all properties. For example, he said, some residential properties saw assessment decreases of three per cent, while the assessment on some farmland increased by more than 25 per cent.
“When combined with our decreased mill rate, this means that due to fluctuations in assessment, some properties will see decreases in their property tax bills, while others will see increases of over 17 per cent. Unfortunately, with farmland assessment increases over 25 per cent, Council is unable to alleviate the tax impact that some of these properties will have,” Ryz said.
“Council is doing their utmost to allocate taxpayers’ money wisely and provide for many services. The municipal council committees are committed to planning and providing ongoing services, as well as preparing and ensuring that the municipality benefits from opportunity, and ratepayers are provided with exceptional services.”
The tax levy this year is expected to raise $6,694,042.30. Of that, $2,892,277 is being collected for the Education Support Levy and the Mountain View School Division’s Special Levy.
When other revenue of $721,839 is added, the RM is left with $4,757.333.30 to fund operations in General Government Services, Protective Services, Transportation Services, Environmental Health Services, Public Health and Welfare Services, Environmental Development Services, Economic Development Services, Recreation and Cultural Services and Fiscal Services.
Transportation Services will see the bulk of the expenditures at just over $2 million while General Government Services will cost $701.485.63 and Protective Services have been budgetted at $339,443.
Environment Health Services are budgetted at $72,148; Public Health and Welfare Services at $1,375; Environmental Development Services at $40,121; Economic Development Services at $140,920.74; Recreation and Cultural Services at $354,199.50; and Fiscal Services at $343,954.49.
Council is also drawing $645,917 from its reserves this year.
A total of $305,000 will come from the Equipment Replacement Reserve to purchase a half-ton truck, semi-truck, an excavator, a belly dump trailer and a mower attachment.
The Economic Development Reserve will supply $20,200 for economic incentives payable, while the Fire Equipment Reserve will be tapped for $24,500 for the purchase of a new truck for the Dauphin Fire Department.
Finally the Federal Gas Tax Funding Reserve will see a withdrawal of $296,217 for road construction projects, the Nakonechny Bridge rehabilitation and the RM Office parking lot and frontage road restoration planned for this year.
Several construction projects are planned in 2020, Ryz said, including 30 approach instalations, seven drainage maintenance projects, five major drainage projects, eight through grade maintenance projects, eight bridge and crossing repairs and eight road construction projects, as well as various regular project and maintenance work.
“Council is looking to apply for grant funding to complete phase three of the rural water system once announcements have been made by federal and provincial governments,” Ryz said.
“It is expected that given the current economic climate in Canada, that this will not occur until 2021 at the earliest. Council hopes to complete the municipality in phase three and provide water to anyone that wants to connect to the rural water pipeline system.”
Citing the Parkland Regional Meeting the RM hosted in partnership with the City of Dauphin, Ryz added building relationships and co-operation with other municipalities and First Nations in the area is a priority for council in 2020.
“Council is hopeful that these meetings will continue to occur in the future,” he said.
Council approved the financial plan at its regular meeting May 26.