Council for the Municipality of Rhineland is going ahead with an updated Special Services Levy for the L.U.D. of Gretna.
The decision is three years in the making after discussion was tabled in late 2020, largely because of opposition from Mennonite Collegiate Institute officials claiming the added taxes would impose a financial hardship on the private Christian school. Members of the Gretna Bergthaler Church Council also voiced concerns.
Once fully approved, presently exempt properties like schools and churches would fall subject to the levy in an effort to have more users share in the cost of local services.
While the proposed levy from the L.U.D Committee included all special services, Council has amended the bylaw after taking into consideration the objections raised at the public hearing, and removed recreation and beautification. Fire protection, road/sidewalk repair and improvements, and street lighting remain. The result is a reduction in the amount of special service. Instead, recreation and beutification will continue to be taxed through the Municipality's regular budget process.
To calculate the levy, a special mill rate will be applied against the portioned assessment of each property, determined according to the estimated cost of service. Based on the 2023 assessed values of the properties, an estimated 5.60 mills will be required. The estimated cost of the special service plan in 2023 is $117,500 with estimated 5% increase in the following four years.
Council has given first reading to the the special service plan, and it is now being sent to the Municipal Board for approval. If given the go-ahead, it is expected that Council will give the bylaw second and third reading in time to apply the levy to the 2023 budget.