Street repairs, new rec facility in Martensville budget

Martensville City Council adopted the 2019 budget for the city at a meeting on Tuesday, February 19

Residential property taxes in Martensville will rise about 3.98 per cent, on average, in 2019.

That translates into an average increase for homeowners of about $6.49 per month or $77.91 per year.

The average increase in business property taxes in 2019 will be about 5 or 6 per cent.

Martensville City Council adopted the city’s 2019 annual budget at its regular meeting on Tuesday, February 19. The balanced budget is based on $14.6 million in total revenues and an equal amount in total expenditures.

The city budgeted for a 4 per cent increase in total property tax revenue based on overall municipal assessment growth of 3.6 per cent over the past year. The actual 2019 mill rate will be reviewed and set in the coming months after the release of the provincial budget in March.

Martensville Mayor Kent Muench said investing in infrastructure to improve quality of life for residents and increase competitiveness for businesses is a priority for the city.

“We have budgeted $2 million in capital projects, including $700,000 in roadways,” said Muench. “The big project this year will be the renewal of streets in the area of the intersection of Centennial Drive and Main Street.”

Muench said another major project is the construction of a paved pathway adjacent to 10th Avenue South in the McCormack Ranch neighbourhood. When completed, this pathway will be the final link in over seven kilometers of contiguous paved pedestrian and cycling pathways.

“This will provide residents with improved connectivity to the pathways leading to Kinsmen Park,” said Muench.

A new multipurpose recreation facility, which would include a second indoor ice surface for the city, is also a step closer to reality as a result of the city allocating $480,000 to reserves in the 2019 budget for the project. This is in addition to the $6.5 million already earmarked for the facility by council in 2018.

The city is committed to pursuing sponsorship funding, as well as additional project planning, for the new rec facility in the coming year.

Muench said ongoing street repairs and upgrades are important.

Martensville’s annual revenue comes from a variety of sources, including property taxes and grants

“In 2017, Martensville undertook a complete overall assessment of all the roadways in the city to determine what kind of shape they’re in and figure out which ones need priority attention,” said Muench. “In the long run, the goal is to ensure they are maintained and replaced before they deteriorate. That way we avoid costly ‘infrastructure deficits’ in the future.”

The roadways assessment is part of the city’s comprehensive asset management plan.

The city’s 2019 budget includes an increase of $30 per year for the garbage and recycling levy. The increase is due to a hike by Loraas in the rates for the service. There are no budgeted changes to the residential base tax levy, the wastewater treatment levy or the recreation facility levy.

Martensville Director of Corporate Services Leah Bloomquist said the city will not be taking out any loans to finance capital projects.

“There is no borrowing in the 2019 budget,” said Bloomquist in an interview on Wednesday, February 20. “Also, the draws from reserves is minimal this year.”

Bloomquist said the city’s capital projects are funded out of general revenues, with the exception of a new medical rescue vehicle for the fire department.

“We have a multi-year capital funding arrangement in place with the RM of Corman Park, whereby the RM provides a grant of $80,000 per year,” said Bloomquist. “So we’ll be using two year’s worth of that toward the purchase of this vehicle. The fire department responds to medical emergencies in the RM as well as within Martensville.”

Bloomquist said the infrastructure funding from the province, in the form of the annual municipal revenue sharing grant, is very important in the city’s overall budget.

“Last year we received just under $2 million in municipal revenue sharing,” she said. “The premier recently announced that the funding will continue, but the formula has been changed a bit. We’ll see what the final numbers are when the provincial budget comes out next month, but estimates at the SUMA convention suggested we could see about a $70,000 increase year over year.”

Bloomquist said the growth in the city’s overall assessment reflects both the increase in property values and the annexation of land from the RM last year.

The city has revenues of $14.6 million in 2019. Property taxes account for $8.14 million (55.74%) of that, while grants make up $2.57 million(17.6%); fees and services contribute $2.695 million (18.46%); transfers from reserves amount to $1.068 million (7.32%); and $129,400 (0.88%) is from other sources.

Martensville spends almost half its annual budget on infrastructure, roads, recreation and community programming

Expenditures for the city in 2019 are also $14.6 million. Of that total, roadways and infrastructure spending makes up $3.3 million (23%); recreation and community programs account for $4 million (27%); parks, pathways and sports fields amount to $1.26 million (9%); corporate services is $2.3 million (16%); police and bylaw protection accounts for $1.13 million (8%); planning and development is $619,900 (4%); environmental health services is $784,700 (5%); fire protection is $823,600 (6%); and economic development is $306,800 ( 2%).

These figures do not include water and sewer utility revenues and expenses, which is based on a user-pay system.