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Small mill rate increase included in RM's 2019 financial plan

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Rural Municipality (RM) of Dauphin reeve Ron Ryz was wearing a new pair of shoes, as council presented its 2019 Financial Plan, Apr. 24.
CAO Nicole Chychota said the plan showed significant decreases in the transfer from accumulated surplus, which is offset by decreases to basic expenditures and a slight increase to the mill rate.
Council budgetted for less revenue for 2019, she noted, with estimates of $5,047,762.72, compared to $5,253,259.42 budgeted in 2018.
Chychota pointed out the actual revenues in 2018 were $4,542,348.31, which was also a decrease in expected revenue last year.
Expenditures for 2019 are budgeted at $5,047,762.72, she said, a decrease from the previous year of $5,253,258.42 though actual expenditures were $4,488,906.31 in 2018.
“Basically, a lot of it was that we cut back on our transfers from accumulated surplus. So that’s our reliance on surplus from previous years, to cover expenses. We’ve cut that down quite a bit,” she explained.
“That’s on the revenue side of things. We also trimmed a lot of the expenses this year. Nothing that will have an impact on the level of service provided to the ratepayers, just more areas where we identified that they could have some cuts in them, because we weren't utilizing the full amounts that were budgeted anyways.”
Council increased its transfer to reserves, Chychota added, to save for capital purchases for the future.
The RM is using $597,861 from reserves in 2019, she said, for various projects.
For example, $337,961 will be withdrawn from the Equipment Replacement Reserve for the purchase of a half-ton truck, excavator payment, v-plow attachment, mower, skid steer and a brusher attachment.
The Economic Development Reserve will see a withdrawal of $20,200 for economic incentives payable in the current year and $7,000 from the Recreation Reserve is for a firewood compound at Stoney Point Beach.
The $117,950 share of the RM’s replacement for the Dauphin Fire Department truck will come out of the Fire Equipment Reserve and $114,750 for road construction projects for 2019 will come from the Federal Gas Tax Funding Reserve.
Property owners will see a small increase to their taxes, she said, with a 2.8 per cent increase to the mill rate to 22.408, compared to 21.839 mills last year.
“So it’s basically an inflationary raise is what it is,” she said.
“Expenses for us go up every year, things get a little more expensive, your Hydro goes up, same as it would for an individual.”
The special levy from Mountain View School Division increased by 2.75 per cent, Chychota said, adding this year, the province removed the ability for homeowners to apply any unused portion of the school tax rebate against their municipal taxes owing.
As a result, she explained, homeowners who have school taxes that are less than $700 annually, which is approximately 160 households in the RM, will likely see an increase to the total amount payable.
Commitment and services allocated in the proposed financial plan include: emergency services (911); fire protection through the Dauphin and Sifton Fire Departments; waste disposal operations in Dauphin and Sifton; recycling programs in Dauphin and Sifton; noxious weed control through the Dauphin Ochre Weed Control; veterinary services; regional airport service; Conservation Districts of Intermountain and Turtle River; recreation services; plus Parkland and Dauphin Regional Library services.
The Public Works department has several projects planned for the upcoming construction season, such as 23 approach installations, 12 drainage maintenance projects, six major drainage projects, seven through-grade maintenance projects, seven other bridge and crossing repairs, nine road construction projects as well as various regular and maintenance projects.
Phase 3 of the RM’s water distribution system is not budgeted for in 2019, Chychota said, as administration did not receive a response from the provincial or federal governments regarding funding.
“But it’s still something that we’re hoping will come through in the years to come,” she added.
This was Chychota’s first budget, which she said was an exciting process to be a part of.
“And I think overall, I’m very happy with the way that it turned out. I think we’re making some good strides towards the future for the municipality and I am excited to see what the future holds for us,” Chychota said.
RM council gave first reading to the 2019 financial plan, Apr. 24. Second and third readings are anticipated at the next meeting, May 14.
A copy of the plan may be picked up at the RM office at Hwy 20A E, Dauphin, or downloaded from the website at rmofdauphin.ca.

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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