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Mill Rate Cut As Result Of Federal Restart Money

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For the second year in a row the City of Dauphin’s budgetting process has resulted in a mill rate reduction.

Using $301,000 of the $500,000 in Federal Restart Funding received last year, the City was able to drop the mill rate from last year’s 18.908 to 18.039, a reduction of 4.6 per cent, with no program cuts and maintaining the same level of infrastructure spending.

That mill rate will raise $6,174,485 this year compared to $6,449,919 in 2020.
Owners of a residence assessed at $100,000, assuming no change in value from last year, will see the municipal portion of their taxes decrease by $39.10.

Another change ratepayers should be aware of, city manager Sharla Griffiths said, is that taxes will be due as usual this year, by July 31.

Last year, in order to help those struggling with income during the COVID-19 pandemic, the city moved the deadline for paying property taxes from July 31 to Sept. 30. The new deadline coincided with an extension on school taxes put in place by the province.

“This year there is no direction from the province to delay any due dates and so the city is not delaying any due dates either,” Griffiths said.

Other revenue included in the budget totals $4,734,502, highlighted by $245,000 in taxes added, animal licenses in the amount of $5,100, business licenses totalling $96,000, building permits estimated at $64,000, fines totalling $47,500, the sale of services totalling a little over $1 million, a Provincial Municipal Operating Grant of $645,145, a Provincial Public Safety Grant of $939,791 and conditional transfers from the federal government of $528,388 and from the provincial government totalling $401,906.

The budget also includes $419,196 in transfers from reserves. “We’re taking more out of reserves than we have in the past to find some of our bigger projects like a garbage truck purchase and some work at our water treatment plant,” Griffiths said, adding there is two Water Services Board approved projects including work on Lift Station 1 and an orthophosphate component to reduce the lead levels in the water and ultraviolet disinfection.

On the expenditure side of the balance sheet, General Government Services has been budgetted at $1,326,552. The 1.28 per cent increase over last year includes an increase in wage requirements, which is offset somewhat by less expenses for travel. Other highlights include a $17,000 increase in community grants and appropriations and a slight decrease in the subsidy paid to the Dauphin Regional Airport Authority from $92,698 in 2020 to $88,658 this year. As well, a total of $21,500 has been allocated for city hall landscaping, tree planting and lighting.

Protective Services has been budgetted at $3,117,459, an increase of three per cent over last year. The money will fund the usual inflation increase to RCMP policing costs; equipment, gear and facility maintenance for the fire department; Emergency Measures requirements including costs associated with the city shop to tend to emergencies and the Connect emergency alerting software; and costs associated with the building inspector, animal control, insect control and bylaw enforcement.

Transportation Services has been budgetted at $1,767,626, a decrease of 2.5 per cent from 2020. The expenditure includes all operating costs for Public Works such as curb and gutter, lane and road maintenance; pavement repairs; crack sealing; sidewalk repairs; drainage, ditch and culvert maintenance; street cleaning; snow and ice removal; bridge maintenance; street lighting; and signage. Other highlights this year include a detailed design for rehabilitation of the Buckwold Bridge on Fourth Avenue SW and roof repairs at the city shop.

Environmental Health Services has been budgetted at $1,011,077, a 7.21 per cent increase for operation of the waste disposal grounds, garbage collection, yard waste collection and recycling collection.
A total of $33,749 has been allocated to Public Health and Welfare Services for a one-tier social assistance payment to the province while Environmental Development services has been budgetted at $221,685, a decrease of 38 per cent. Expenditure highlights include $30,000 for a review of the development plan, $15,000 for the Dutch Elm Disease Rapid Removal Program, getting ready for a Communities In Bloom judging year and $15,000 extra for weed control associated with operation of a new weed vapourizer.

Economic Development Services is budgetted at $510,553, up 24 per cent from last year. Expenditure highlights include economic development incentive programs such as residental and commercial incentives, tipping fee rebates, spec homes, and the Dauphin Business Park. Other expenditure include costs associated with tourism such as the visitor guide, Park signage and photographs, as well as the appropriation for the Dauphin Vet Board.

Recreation and Cultural Services expenditures have been set at $1,983,956, an increase of 2.21 per cent driven by an increase to Dauphin Recreation Services operating.
Finally, Fiscal Services has been budgetted at $333,771, highlighted by a slight increase in reserve fund appropriations.

General Fund
capital expenditures

General Fund capital expenditures total $2,468,949 comprised of:
• Road reconstruction and mill and overlay - $652,000;
• New sidewalks construction - $22,000;
• Storm drainage design and construction - $300,000;
• CN Station sprinkler extension - $7,150;
• CN Station solar lights - $5,000;
• City park signage - $48,000;
• Trade show display - $8,000;
• Indigenous statue - $107,000;
• Compost site - $85,000;
• EV charger - $11,815;
• Active transportation route Phase 2 - $125,000;
• Weed steamer and tree spade - $40,794;
• Multi-use outdoor court - $300,000;
• Greenhouse - $25,000;
• Audio and video system for council chambers - $50,000;
• Cube van purchase - $15,515;
• Garbage truck purchase - $375,000;
• Crew cab 1/2 ton purchase - $50,000;
• Skid Steer plus storage shed - $89,000;
• V. Watson pedestal for statue -$3,500;
• Library upgrades - $44,000;
• City hall sprinkler system - $11,800; and
• City shop heating system - $93,375.

While not all the work being done is glamourous, Griffiths is excited about one project in particular.
“One of the projects that personally I’m most proud of that council really feel strongly about. is the contribution to recreation this year, specifically the tennis courts at Meadowlark Park,” she said.
“They are in need of repair and DRS has a plan this year to refurbish them and repurpose them so that they are tennis courts, pickleball courts and basketball courts. I think that’s something that’s really going to make a difference in our community. Those are activities that are for all ages and are relatively low cost to do.”

Utility Fund

In the Utility Fund water revenue has been set at $2,307,100, while wasterwater revenue has been budgetted at $509,000.

Up from last year the increase is due to an anticipated rate hike expected to kick in later in the year.
On the expenditure side, water costs have been set at $1,867,338, an increase of 2.75 per cent from last year, while wastewater expenses are estimated at $417,305 dollars, up 6.47 per cent from 2020.
The increases are primarily due to rising operating costs and staff training.

Utility Fund capital expenditures total $4,233,122 for Manitoba Watter Services Board projects at lift stations 1 and 2 and the water treatment plant, as well as the purchase of leak detection equipment.
“We just got word that the municipal board approved our borrowing, which triggered the Manitoba Water Services board to put the project out for tender,” Griffiths said.