Work is set to begin this month on upgrading and paving a section of Main Street in Martensville.
Martensville City Council awarded the tender for paving Main Street between 10th Avenue and 16th Avenue in the Lake Vista neighbourhood to Paramount Paving. The decision was made at the regular city council meeting on Tuesday, May 16.
The $2.55 million bid from Paramount was the lowest of six proposals submitted to the city during the tender process. In its proposal, Paramount estimated the start date for the project would be May 23 and the work largely completed by mid-October. Continue reading “Martensville set to pave Main Street eastern extension”→
The average homeowner in Martensville will see a 2.2 per cent hike in the municipal portion of their property taxes this year.
That translates into an annual increase of about $48.35 for the average residential property, according to a fact sheet issued by the City of Martensville following adoption of the city’s 2017 budget by city council at a meeting on Tuesday, May 2.
The city’s $16 million balanced budget includes a number of major capital projects.
At the May 2 council meeting, council voted to keep the municipal base tax for residential property at $615, the same amount as last year. However, the municipal base tax for commercial property was increased by $300 to $915 for 2017.
The city residential mill rate was set at 4.90 for 2017, a reduction from 6.26 mills in 2016.
The city commercial mill rate for 2017 is 5.70, a reduction from 8.91 mills in 2016. The commercial mill rate factor was reduced to 1.1625 in 2017 from 1.4229 in 2016.
There are no changes to the city’s garbage and recycling fees ($180/year) or wastewater treatment levy ($75/year). However, a new $25 annual levy has been instituted specifically for a new future recreation facility.
Additionally, property owners will see an educational school tax levy of 4.12 mills for residential and 6.27 mills for commercial/industrial properties.
Martensville Mayor Kent Muench said the budget is the city’s response to “very challenging times,” noting it takes a “balanced approach” in managing the city’s future.
Martensville Corporate Services Director Leah Sullivan said the budget was finalized later than normal this year because of several factors, including changing assessment numbers due to property revaluation and reduced revenue streams due to provincial budget cuts.
Sullivan said the city administration was expecting final property assessment numbers from the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency (SAMA) in early February, but didn’t receive them until March.
“We did have preliminary assessment numbers from SAMA which were updated regularly, and we were working with those for our budget estimates,” said Sullivan. “We knew the city was looking at big increases in assessment, and we made adjustments to the mill rate to take that into account.”
Sullivan said the city administration and council determine projected revenues and expenses for the annual budget, and then calculate the mill rates to achieve those targets.
Just because assessment numbers increase doesn’t necessarily translate into higher property taxes or increased revenue for the city, she said.
In a revaluation year like this one, higher assessments are expected. She said the city’s commercial assessment went up 164 per cent this year over last.
“That’s a big increase,” she said, adding the city absorbed much of that impact by reducing both the commercial mill rate and the mill rate factor. The city also raised the base tax for commercial property to make it more equitable for all businesses, regardless of assessment value.
To further complicate the issue, the province increased the taxable percentage of value for residential properties from 70 per cent tin 2016 to 80 per cent in 2017. In response, the city reduced its mill rate for residential properties this year to help cushion the impact of that assessment increase, said Sullivan.
Sullivan said despite the cuts to the grants-in-lieu program announced in the provincial budget in March, Martensville was not impacted to the extent of other municipalities because its increased population boosted its revenue-sharing grant from the province. Warman was in much the same situation, she added.
“When the provincial budget came out, there was initially a lot of confusion, so we had to wait and see how that loss of funding for the SaskEnergy grant-in-lieu affected us,” she said. “For our city, it meant a reduction of about $100,000 a year. But that was softened by the increase in our assessment numbers and also our population increase for the purpose of revenue-sharing.”
Sullivan said the city administration is already beginning the process for determining the 2018 municipal budget.
“It’s definitely time to get talking about it,” she said.
A privately-owned and operated regional bus service connecting Martensville, Warman and Saskatoon kicked off its schedule on Monday, May 1 with official openings in two cities.
Martensville Mayor Kent Muench and Warman Mayor Sheryl Spence collaborated on snipping the ribbon at the events, first in Martensville and later in Warman.
AV Transit announced last month it will run regular passenger routes using a 20-passenger bus five days a week. A round-trip from Martensville or Warman to Saskatoon is $15. The bus schedule is posted online on the company’s website.
Martensville Economic Development Officer Dillon Shewchuk said the new bus service will have a positive impact on the region by providing acccessible, affordable transportation for seniors, students and others with special needs.
“It’s a great first step in building more transportation capacity in the region,” said Shewchuk.
Warman Economic Develompent Officer Josh Welz said the bus service is a good example of regional collaboration that benefits all communities involved.
AV Transit General Manager Kelly Rapko said the company is looking for feedback from riders on ways to improve the service.
AV Operations Manager Jim Pravda said the official launch of the bus service is an “historic occasion”. He suggested it will have a big impact on the growth of both communities.