Coun­cil ap­proves by­laws to pre­pare for is­su­ing of prop­erty tax notices

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - NEWS - By Matthew Lieben­berg mlieben­berg@prairiepos­

Sev­eral by­laws were ap­proved dur­ing a reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing to al­low the City of Swift Cur­rent to pro­ceed with is­su­ing the 2020 prop­erty tax notices to res­i­dents and busi­nesses.

The by­laws to es­tab­lish the mill rate and the mill rate fac­tors, as well as for the cre­ation of a spe­cial tax to fund the long-term care fa­cil­ity, and to ex­empt cer­tain prop­er­ties from the 2020 as­sess­ment re­ceived three read­ings dur­ing the May 4 coun­cil meet­ing, which took place via video con­fer­ence.

“The res­i­dents al­ready re­ceived the as­sess­ments ear­lier this year, I think it was early Fe­bru­ary,” City Chief Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fi­cer Tim Mar­cus said dur­ing a video con­fer­ence me­dia brief­ing af­ter the coun­cil meet­ing. “So every­body has got­ten their as­sess­ment no­tice. The only thing left to go out now is the tax no­tice. Now the map can be done us­ing the mill rate and the mill rate fac­tors to mul­ti­ply against the tax­able as­sess­ment to come up with how much is ow­ing.”

Res­i­dents and busi­nesses will re­ceive more time this year to pay their 2020 prop­erty taxes. The City has de­cided to give cus­tomers a three-month grace pe­riod to pay their res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial prop­erty tax due to the eco­nomic im­pact of the COVID-19 pan­demic.

Prop­erty taxes are usu­ally due by the end of June, but this year cus­tomers will have time un­til Sept. 30 to pay these taxes. The ad­di­tional time to pay will be in­di­cated on the 2020 prop­erty tax notices.

“It will say payable by Sept. 30 on the no­tice and it will in­clude of course the school taxes and the por­tion of the taxes that are City taxes,” he said.

This year’s base tax amount on res­i­den­tial and res­i­den­tial con­do­minium prop­er­ties is $820 per prop­erty or per con­do­minium unit, which is an in­crease of $20 com­pared to last year.

This is the fifth year of the 30-year spe­cial tax for the in­ter­est free re­pay­ment of the City’s con­tri­bu­tion to the con­struc­tion cost of The Mead­ows long-term care fa­cil­ity. A flat rate of $35 is charged on all res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties. Own­ers of multi-fam­ily res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties are charged $35 per unit.

The as­sessed value of com­mer­cial prop­er­ties will de­ter­mine the amount of this spe­cial tax paid by business own­ers. For com­mer­cial prop­er­ties the spe­cial tax will vary be­tween $58 and $303.

The by­law on the ex­emp­tion from tax­a­tion for the 2020 as­sess­ment iden­ti­fies the prop­er­ties that qual­ify for this ex­clu­sion. The prop­er­ties listed in the by­law are pro­vid­ing var­i­ous ser­vices in the com­mu­nity and they are for the most part non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“The cri­te­ria are that they have to be non-profit and they have to of­fer some­thing to the com­mu­nity that might not be there if they didn’t have,” Mar­cus ex­plained. “It’s our way of be­ing able to en­sure that those ser­vices are pro­vided in the city.”

The or­ga­ni­za­tions listed in the by­law vary from SaskA­bil­i­ties, South­west Homes, South­west Cri­sis Ser­vices and the Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion to the Sal­va­tion Army, the Men­non­ite Cen­tral Com­mit­tee fur­ni­ture store, the South­west Cul­tural De­vel­op­ment Group (Lyric The­atre) and the Swift Cur­rent SPCA. It also in­cludes an ex­emp­tion for Elm­wood Golf Club.

“We treat Elm­wood the same way we treat the City golf course, Chi­nook,” he said. “The City’s golf course on the south side doesn’t pay mu­nic­i­pal taxes. So it wouldn’t be fair to charge them to Elm­wood and have a dis­par­ity be­tween the two cour­ses in the rates that could be pro­vided.”

Dis­tri­bu­tion of Western Canada Sum­mer Games legacy funds:

Coun­cil re­ceived and filed the fi­nal re­port for the 2019 Western Canada Sum­mer Games from the Games Man­ager Denise Bar­bier. The meet­ing also ap­proved the dis­tri­bu­tion of $155,061 in legacy funds to var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Swift Cur­rent was the host city for the games, which was the largest event to be hosted in south­west Saskatchew­an. It brought 1,581 ath­letes and coaches to the re­gion from three western prov­inces and three north­ern ter­ri­to­ries. The ath­letes com­peted in 16 sports dur­ing the 10-day event in Au­gust 2019.

The to­tal op­er­at­ing bud­get for the event, in­clud­ing value-in-kind con­tri­bu­tions, was ap­prox­i­mately $3.7 mil­lion. The Saskatchew­an gov­ern­ment con­trib­uted $1.5 mil­lion in cash to­wards the games. The City of Swift Cur­rent made a cash con­tri­bu­tion of $900,000 and also sup­ported the games with value-in-kind con­tri­bu­tions of $300,000.

Tourism Saskatchew­an car­ried out an anal­y­sis of the tourism and eco­nomic im­pact of the 2019 Western Canada Sum­mer Games. It in­di­cated the to­tal gross out­put for the tourism im­pact of the event was $1,040,000 and cre­ated 13.13 jobs. The to­tal gross out­put for op­er­a­tional ex­penses of the games was $4,730,000 and cre­ated 22.53 jobs.

There was a sur­plus of funds at the end of the games due to care­ful con­trol of spend­ing, gen­er­ous sup­port of lo­cal vol­un­teers and busi­nesses, bet­ter than ex­pected ticket sales, and a start-up loan of $20,000 from the Western Canada Games Coun­cil that did not have to be re­paid. It made it pos­si­ble to have $155,061 avail­able in a legacy fund, and the City of Swift Cur­rent is re­spon­si­ble for dis­tribut­ing these funds. The goal is to use these funds to sup­port youth and sport in the re­gion. Coun­cil ap­proved the de­tailed list for the dis­tri­bu­tion of the legacy funds. Var­i­ous sport pro­grams and or­ga­ni­za­tions as well as com­mu­nity pro­grams will re­ceive money from this fund.

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