Town of Rimbey Mayor Rick Pankiw and Town of Eckville Mayor Colleen Ebden are skeptical of Statistics Canada census numbers that show their communities lost population. (Advocate file photo)

Rimbey 2022 budget includes a mill rate increase

Mayor of Rimbey, Rick Pankiw said he is pleased with the work that administration has done while working on one of the toughest budgets in his time on Rimbey council.

“This probably has been the toughest budget in my nine years. Like most budgets, some people will be happy with it and some people will wonder why we did what we did,” said Pankiw.

This year, Rimbey has a 1.5 per cent mill rate increase. In 2020 the non-residential municipal mill rate in Rimbey was 9.73 per cent, increasing 0 from 9.73 in 2019.

According to data in the budget, the tax rate in Rimbey is quite comparable to other municipalities. Pankiw isn’t worried about matching other municipalities though, he said he’s interested in what is best for Rimbey, its residents and the services.

“The last thing people want to see is services decline. We have to worry first about Rimbey,” said Pankiw. “All towns operate a little bit differently.”

In 2021 at 9.7308 per cent, Rimbey had the second lower non-residential tax rate of sixteen surrounding communities including, Ponoka, Sylvan Lake, Blackfalds and Penhold.

The reserve balances ending in 2021 are $4,540,527, and at the end of 2022, they will sit at $4,030,528.

The 56 Ave. asphalt overlay has a project cost of $348,300 and the 51 St. storm line replacement has a project cost of $1,866,357, a total of $2,214,657 for the 2022 capital budget.

The vehicles and equipment replacement program is adequately funded until 2023. The parks and equipment replacement program and the arena equipment replacement program are both funded until 2028.

There was an increase in waste management collection, due to collection costs for recycling bins at the transfer station.

Pankiw said the hardest part of the budget is when organizations and local community groups request funding.

This budget is the first in which administration and council asked for the budgets from the community groups requesting funding.

Pankiw said it helps open councils’ eyes to areas of priorities and clears up some of the guesswork.

He said that due to constraints council has to operate within isn’t always possible to give every group full funding each year.

He said that when it comes to budget time, the Town looks to help the community groups and organizations in a way that enables the groups to also help themselves.

“We need to create a partnership.”

FCSS and community groups remained much the same as compared to the 2021 budget except for the Rimbey Boys and Girls Club which received $15,000 compared to $10,000 in 2021.

For this budget, the Rimbey Municipal Library requested a $5,285 increase in county requisition, due to a larger space needing more janitorial resources and time.

New to the budget for 2022, was $10,000 for Rimbey Neighbourhood Place, $7,500 for community events grants and $1,284 for Red Deer River Watershed.

The full, 213-page budget can be found on the Town of Rimbey website under the “meeting minutes” tab.