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Finance

Birch Hills County Media Release April 23, 2020

Birch Hills County Passes 2020 Budget and Adopts Mill Rate Bylaw

Birch Hills County Council approved the County’s 2020 Operating and Maintenance budget Mill

Rate Bylaw at its Regular Council Meeting on April 23, 2020.

The major hurdle faced by Birch Hills County in 2020 related to information previously released, that being the unwillingness of two companies that did not pay their 2019 taxes that were

viewed by the County’s auditor as being potential bad debts, thus requiring an allowance for bad debt to be set up, and negating any tax revenue from them being recognized by the County.

The annual tax revenue from these two firms equates to approximately $500,000, or 8.4% of all

tax revenues.

County staff had been in discussions with the two firms to attempt and arrange a tax arrears payment plan to catch up past and current taxes, but there has been no response to the proposals presented. This inaction on their parts required an additional $500,000 to be set up for bad debt allowances, and the requirement to raise funding for the allowance.

This, and unavoidable inflationary pressures, were further complicated by several other matters that came into play in 2020 including:

Reductions in municipal assessments that resulted in lost tax revenues of approximately

$141,000;

Rural municipalities began to be assessed for policing costs by the Province of Alberta in

2020, and this required an additional $27,089 to be raised. This new levy is projected to increase to over $108K by 2024; and

The Province of Alberta increased the reduction to their Payments in Lieu of Taxes initiated in 2019 from 25% to 50%. This reduces payments to Birch Hills County by a total

of $10,620

Council and Administration have laboured over the budget, and reduced the increased funding required to be raised through taxation to $156,000 (or $297,000 when factoring in the lost

$141,000) by reducing expenditures and drawing $425,000 from the rate stabilization reserve.

This saw Birch Hills County increasing the mill rates for residential properties by 3.5%, farmland and non residential properties (excluding small businesses) 7.6%, and no increase to the small business mill rate.

Total Operating Expenses of $8,106,577.44 will be funded through $5,944,942.67 in taxes,

$1,736,226.35 from sales, fees for services, and grants, and $425,408.42 drawn from reserves.

Council understands that this will place pressures on people already experiencing difficulties,

but they were forced into this situation by very difficult circumstances. The truly troubling matter still to be addressed is the fact that an additional $425,000 will need to be found in 2021 if the

delinquent tax accounts remain delinquent, and that there is a good possibility that other

companies could join the list.

2019 Financial Statement

As per the Municipal Government Act section 276(3), notice is hereby given that the 2019 Financial Statement, including the 2019 auditor's report, is available on the Birch Hills County website under the Finance section. Copies are also available for pick up, mailed at no cost or emailed from the County Office. Please see the above BHC contact information or email requests to info@birchhillscounty.com.

Budget

2020

2020 Capital Budget Summary (PDF Document)

2020 Operating Expense by Function (PDF Document)

2020 Operating Revenue by Function (PDF Document)

2019

2019 Capital Budget Summary (PDF Document)

2019 Operating Expense by Function (PDF Document)

2019 Operating Revenue by Function (PDF Document)

2018

2018 Capital Budget Summary (PDF Document)

2018 Operating Expense by Function (PDF Document)

2018 Operating Revenue by Function (PDF Document)

2017

2017 Capital Budget Summary (PDF Document)

2017 Expense Budget by Function (PDF Document)

2017 Revenue Budget by Function (PDF Document)

2016

2016 Capital Budget (PDF Document)

2016 Operating Expense Budget (PDF Document)

2016 Operating Revenue Budget (PDF Document)

2015

2015 Capital Budget (PDF Document)

2015 Operating Expense Budget (PDF Document)

2015 Operating Revenue Budget (PDF Document)

Financial Statements

2019 Financial Statements (PDF Document)

2018 Financial Statements (PDF Document)

2017 Financial Statements (PDF Document)

2016 Financial Statements (PDF Document)

2015 Financial Statements(PDF Document)

2014 Financial Statements (PDF Document)

2013 Financial Statements (PDF Document)