During a recent ratepayers meeting sponsored by the Town of Rimbey, residents were informed and delighted to hear that their taxes will not increase this year and the economic situation in the community is a strong as ever, but it hasn’t been easy.
“Council debated this budget very hard in that we have a number of major projects on the go and we’re coming off some very large ones, including the lagoon project which is just being completed,” said Mayor Dale Barr. “So the good news for the ratepayers is that the mill rate will stay the same for our community this year and the assessment base that we have, which is the values of the properties here, has stayed relatively stable, so most ratepayers will see their taxes stay in line with what they were in 2009.”
Despite the good news, Barr said there are still big challenges ahead including paying off the remaining $1.5 million of the new $5 million water reservoir on the north side of the community, which council has done through a long-term loan distributed over 15 years and have locked in at an interest rate of four per cent.
Another big project about to be undertaken is the new swimming pool. Final decisions as to where the pool will be located and which tender will be selected are expected soon following one final public meeting that was held this past Thursday evening.
Also to be addressed is the issue of garbage collection, which according to Barr, is currently running in the red.
“We do know right now that garbage collection is running at a deficit so what we will be looking to do through the budget analysis is balance that number out because that’s a contract that comes up again for renewal in one year and the directive of council has always been to balance the utilities,” he said.
As for other long-term projects on council’s wish list, Barr said the town will soon increase and upgrade the lighting capacity on 50th Ave. as well as look into proposals to repair sidewalks in the community. Also on the list of priorities is a new pumper truck for Rimbey Fire and Rescue. Funds have already been put aside for the truck, which should be purchased some time in 2011.
The mayor also addressed the issue of the relatively small crowd on hand, estimated to be less that 30, and added that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“The numbers were very low again at the ratepayers meeting and I think it’s because council has been prudent with the decisions we’re making to ensure we’re trying to balance between all the needs of the community,” Barr said. “We have great facilities in this town, we have great assets that are already paid and moving forward and we are going to be set up very strong for the next 15 to 20 years.”