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City mill rate edges up

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For the second year in a row, Dauphin residents will see the municipal mill rate increase slightly.
As part of its 2019 budget, the City of Dauphin bumped up the rate by half a mill to 20.330, compared to 19.834 last year.
Mayor Allan Dowhan said in the past, taxes added by means of development helped council avoid increasing the mill rate.
“For 2019 we see less added taxes coming in. In 2020 we will be in better shape. So we thought also that with inflation and rising costs, we should increase it a little bit,” Dowhan said, listing strong financial stewardship and public safety as the two main factors guiding the budget’s development.
“It was the time.”
In keeping with the focus on public safety, the mill rate increase will collect around $160,000, which will be used mainly to add to the compliment at local RCMP detachment by one officer, bringing the number deployed to Dauphin to 15.
Dowhan said some success experienced in Ste. Rose and Winnipegosis in a co-operative drug operation last year inspired city council to make the move.
“We felt for public safety that we should go for another officer. And this officer is strictly dedicated for drugs,” he said, adding the officer will be working co-operatively with other detachments in the area.
“If there is a problem in Dauphin, there is a problem in the whole region and I like the regional approach.”
Ideally, Dowhan would like to see illegal drugs eradicated in the area, but realistically, he said, any reduction in the supply of meth will beneficial.
“We have to get a hold on that. Because of the effect of meth on users you start getting into petty crime. It is a no-win situation,” Dowhan said.
“So we just wanted to come to grips with the current reality.”
The 2019 mill rate will raise $6,423,481, compared to $6,172,820 last year.
The effect of the increase on a home assessed at $100,000 would be $36.04 more in taxes.
Other revenue accounted for in the budget totals $5,246,468 and includes taxes added of $65,000, licence fees totalling $100,500, building permits valued at $52,000, fines in the amount of $52,850, sales of services of just under $1.3 million, sales of goods totalling $10,000, rentals of $138,507, investment returns totalling $55,000, provincial operating grant of $645,145, a provincial public safety grant of $939,791 and federal and provincial conditional transfers totalling just over $1.2 million.
Also included is transfers from reserves in the amount of $40,000.
In total, revenue for the year has been budgetted at $11,709,949, up from $10,642,014 in 2018.
On the expenditure side, General Government Services costs have been budgetted at $1,292,245, up slightly from $1,203,814 last year. Small increases in airport expenses, office costs and legal fees account for the majority of the increase.
In Protective Services, the budget has also increased from last year to $2,876,166, due mainly to increased policing costs and a bump in bylaw enforcement expenses.
Added equipment repair and maintenance costs and ditches and road drainage accounted for a small increase in the Transportation Services budget of $1,787,766, up from $1,626,771 last year.
The budget for Environmental Health Services remains relatively static at $935,524 compared to $920,429 last year.
Public Health and Welfare Services expenditures remain unchanged at $33,749.
In the area of Environmental Development Services, expenditures in 2019 jump to $654,900 from $490,764 last year, due mainly to added economic development and tourism costs.
Recreation and Cultural Services costs increase this year to $1,785,638, while increased transfers to capital increased the Fiscal Services budget to $651,976 from $357,793 in 2018.
Utility Fund
In the Utility Fund, revenue for 2019 has been budgetted at $4,177,037, up considerably from $3,112,429 last year. The increase is due to a $1.1 million grant from the province for work at the city’s lift stations and water treatment plant.
Capital expenditures
Capital expenditures include road reconstruction projects on 1st St. NE, Brown Ave. E from Barker to Marigold, 4th Ave, SW from 1st St. to 2nd St. and Marigold Ave. totalling $338,060.
Mill and overlay projects are planned for 7th Ave. NW from Main St. to River Ave, and on River Ave. from Hedderly St. to Wellington at a cost of $131,000.
Sidewalk construction will occur on Hedderly Street, Hawthorne Ave. W, Dorothy St., 2nd St., NW and 2nd St. SW, totalling $104,400.
Other capital expenditures are highlighted by the purchase of CN land in the area of the city shops for $120,000, the installation of solar panels at the City Shops for $130,000, the purchase of a new rescue truck for the fire department for $412,000 and replacement of the HVAC system at city hall for $250,000.
Utility capital expenditures include lift station upgrades costing $437,500, UV disinfection at the water treatment plant costing $662,500 water main work on 6th Ave. NE and Davidson Ave. E, totalling $470,334 and aqueduct replacement at a cost of $130,000.
In total, $3,834,369 in capital expenditures will be paid for with $624,735 from the general fund, $1,107,000 from the Utility Fund and $1,611,100 from reserves.