Property assessments have reduced the funds available to run District

As the mayor sees it with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys - Property assessments

Many of you will have noticed that your property assessment has dropped this year. What this drop triggers is a reduction in the amount of taxes collected on your assessed value. This reduces the funds available to run the District. At the present time, it would appear that there will be no reduction in the actual costs of running the District. Unless council can find some cuts that can be done in the budget, changes will have to be made.  To replace the missing revenue council will either have to dip into reserve funds, or increase the mill rate for taxation.

Recently some local governments have been dipping into their reserves to help keep taxes the same. In actual fact, going down this particular road can have disastrous results. Reserves are meant for a rainy day. When an event happens that causes a spike in costs, the reserves need to be there to cover that cost.

For example, a major water main break that causes other related damage. Unfortunately, quite a few cities have also tried to keep taxes low by ignoring infrastructure repairs and upgrades. By taking this course of action, they can face problems like the water main break just by ignoring the inevitable effects of time and the environment.

The infrastructure here in Barriere is in relatively good shape. There are portions that definitely need to be replaced, and others that need to be upgraded so that the area can support growth.

Decisions around these issues are made during budget meetings which will be held this spring. Other costs will also be debated, and the merits of each decided. These are public meetings, and I encourage you all to attend so that you can see and hear first hand what the problems and plans are. There will be no secrets around how the final budget is decided.

On a lighter note, the Citizen of the Year dinner honouring Keith Moore was a great success. There were plans to feed around 100 people and more people came than was planned for, so that fits the meaning of a “sold out performance.”

What a performance it was. A sit down dinner served up by the hard working members of the After School Volunteers group, as well as a singing and marching performance that was led by former councillor turned temporary CWAC volunteer Kathy Cooper. The ladies put on a great show, and led the audience in a custom tailored version of a favourite WW11 song that loosely detailed Keith Moore’s exploits.

Mr. Moore’s family took up roughly a third of the attendees. They travelled from as far away as Japan to be there and recognize Keith’s dedication to family, country and community. Their love and dedication to the man that was their father, grandfather and uncle was heart warming to say the least. Keith was described throughout the night as always there for family, always ready to help those that needed it, and always a gentleman. High praise indeed as it came from those that know him best.

When a snow blower attachment was found languishing in a parks equipment shed we were all told that a large tractor was needed for it to work. Sell it for whatever we could get was the advice given. Luckily, Al Fortin said he didn’t think so, and took it to work to see if it could be fixed. Al, Councillor Bill Kershaw and Scott Kershaw, figured the problem out. Parts were either taken off, or put on as needed. One of the District’s older lawn tractors was brought to the shop. Soon the two units were married together and put to work. Sunday saw Al out blowing the snow off the rink in preparation for possible cold weather. Al and his wife Stacey have done a tremendous amount of volunteer work on the rink in the past few years. I would like to thank them for their continuing efforts.

Many thanks as well to Scott Kershaw for once again contributing your time and funds so that we all can benefit from your efforts and generosity. Thanks also to Councillor Bill Kershaw for always attending community functions and volunteering in your “spare time.”