A decision on whether to implement an expanded special services by-law in the L.U.D. of Gretna has been postponed. Council for the Municipality of Rhineland has tabled the matter and will reconsider it in the near future.
Recommended by the L.U.D committee, the proposed changes would include more services like highway construction and maintenance as well as snow removal, on top of street lighting and fire protection that is currently offered. As well, presently exempt properties, like schools and churches, would be subject to the levy.
Reeve Don Wiebe admits a plea from Mennonite Collegiate Institute to hold off on any changes for two years played into Council's decision to delay the move.
Officials with the private Christian school say the proposed levy changes pose a financial hardship the institution isn't prepared to absorb.
"We wanted to be a bit sensitive to that," said Wiebe. He feels school officials understand the question of fairness that the proposed move is intended to answer, and that their request wasn't necessarily in opposition. "But these are difficult times for them right now, and so there was encouragement from the group to wait and see where their future is at and (changes to the levy) doesn't help," added Wiebe.
As a result, Wiebe says Council took its time discussing the sensitive issue and simply ran out of time heading into the next tax collection date coming up in June.
"A lot of procedures could be hampered if this thing isn't dealt with quickly, and we have to assume that things may be difficult because there may be objection and appeals to the Municipal Board, and all of those things take time," he explained.
Deliberations over the proposed expanded special services by-law will likely resume in the fall.
Related articles: Rhineland Council Carefully Weighing Objections To Proposed Gretna Special Services By-Law
MCI Says Proposed Changes Would Triple School's Tax Bill