Prior to Tuesday’s regular meeting, the Town of Virden Council presented its 2021 Financial Plan at a Public Hearing at Tundra Oil & Gas Place. There were no members of the public in attendance.
This year’s balanced budget shows a total municipal revenue of $11,056,936.93. Just over 2.4 million dollars, or 22% of total budgeted revenue, is made up of transfers from accumulated surplus.
2021 will be the first year of the province’s multi-year plan to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the education portion of property taxes. All related tax credits and rebates will be proportionally reduced by 25%, including the Education Property Tax Credit advance. For example, a $700 credit will drop to $525, but a rebate will be issued to offset it. Owners of all classes of property will receive their rebate by cheque from the province in October, when the taxes are due and payable to the Town.
In terms of capital expenditures, the Town proposes to finance two projects through borrowing this year. The largest one, the establishment of two new wells and a pipeline for a new water supply, is estimated to cost $2,094,039. Chief Administrative Officer Rhonda Stewart reported that the project is on schedule and within budget.
There was a small increase in assessment of .29% for this year. The municipal mill rate will increase by .75%.
Other budget highlights include:
Paving work will be conducted on Wellington St. and Eighth Ave. at a projected cost of $300,000.
$117,700 has been allocated for the purchase of a standby generator for the Civic Centre.
Items identified in the conceptual plan for downtown revitalization include the design and creation of wayfinding signage, at a budgeted amount of $25,000 as well as $10,000 to go towards benches, refuse containers and other street fixtures for the downtown area.
While the ice is out of the TOGP arena, a new fiberglass cooling tower will be installed in the plant at an estimated cost of $68,000.
$275,000 is earmarked for the construction of the Virden Skate Park, which has been delayed due to COVID-19. This amount includes funds raised by the Skate Park Committee which have been turned over to the Town.
Just over$1.7 million has been allotted in this year’s budget for the replacement of the bridge on Seventh Ave. N. The Town has made application to the federal Investing In Canada Program for funds to help offset this cost.
Regular Meeting brief
Following the completion of the Financial Plan Public Hearing, Council gave first and second reading to a By-Law establishing tax rates for 2021.
Council approved the awarding of grants to the following organizations for 2021: Arts Mosaic $6,644; Assiniboine River Basin Initiative $1,661; Virden Auditorium Theatre $2,400; Pioneer Home Museum $25,000; Chevron Community Rink $5,000; Virden Cemetery Improvement Association $30,000; Royal Canadian Legion – Virden Branch, $100; Crime Stoppers $332.10; Virden & District 4-H (trophy) $65; Virden Employment Skills Centre $2,500; and Virden & Area Handi-Van $3,000.
Council was advised that the Town has been awarded a grant of $3,600 from the Virden Area Foundation towards the upgrading the irrigation system in Victoria Park. A motion was passed to enter into the necessary agreement to receive the funds.
$4,680 in funding from the federal Department of Canadian Heritage will go towards Virden’s 2021 Canada Day Celebrations. Council was advised that local plans remain somewhat uncertain due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It’s hoped that a fireworks display can be put on, as in 2020, if conditions and public health restrictions permit.
Councillors and staff received authorization to participate in an Accessibility Legislation Webinar being hosted by the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) on May 20.
The Town will send representation to the AMM Western District Meeting, virtually, on June 17.
Council accepted the amended Terms of Reference for Prairie Gateway Tourism organization, and supported the reallocation of funds to allow for the hiring of a summer student to complete project work.
During the summer Council will meet on June 8 and 22; then once monthly - July 29 and August 17.