Now that we have completed our 2017 budget I wanted to provide you with some of the details and give you an understanding of what your Council had to deal with while compiling it. Let me state that your Town Council members have a great desire to reduce taxes and make Esterhazy a more attractive destination for full-time residents and retirees to call home. This was evident throughout our budget deliberations.
This year, as you all know, was a year of cutbacks at the provincial government level. Most of the cutbacks appear to have been directed at the cities and towns in Saskatchewan. Some of the more significant impacts for Esterhazy were as a result of a reduction in provincial revenue sharing amounting to $28,677.04 and the cancellation of grants in lieu for Sask Energy in the amount of $61,590.85. These two reductions in funding meant that your Town Council had $90,267.89 less money to work with when trying to come up with a balanced budget. However, in keeping with the theme of wanting to reduce taxes, your Council agreed to a global reduction of $ 55,257.04 in municipal property tax levies for 2017. Adding these three numbers together gave us a $ 145,524.93 hole in the revenue side of the budget.
Now, as you may be aware, your Town Council has no control over the assessed values of properties or of the school tax levies as both of these are completely within the provincial government’s purview. This year we saw the provincial government significantly increase the school tax levies in Esterhazy by $ 131,116.97. So, while your Council did its best to keep taxes from increasing they had a lot of factors working against them. Council made no changes to the base tax levies on residential or commercial properties and adjusted the mill rates downward on residential properties from 9.0 to 6.5 and commercial properties from 20.07 to 11.05. This was done in an effort to mitigate the tax increases that would have come about due to the increased assessments.
Your Council members did the best they could to keep taxes as low as possible in these difficult times. Please feel free to contact our CAO or the office staff if you would like a more detailed explanation of the way in which property taxes are calculated and levied.
Watch for my next newsletter as I will be focusing on the plans we have for a future water treatment plant and also the ongoing maintenance that we are undertaking on our sewer infrastructure.
Mayor of Esterhazy