ESTEVAN - Estevan city council approved the mill rate factors for 2022 during the June 6 council meeting.
Council gave second and third readings to four separate documents, including the property tax bylaw.
While the municipal share of property tax will remain the same, the education portion, set by the provincial government, will go up. Council members noted they have no control over this, and they are the ones who have to collect property taxes for the school boards.
The overall mill rate is expected to increase 1.7 per cent on residential properties and 1.8 per cent on commercial.
The property tax bylaw also calls for a minimum tax of $700 on taxable property for both residential and commercial/industrial.
Council also approved the library levy, which is the committed amount required by the Southeast Regional Library. The city’s commitment is $398,920, or $34.74 per capita. The levy will generate approximately $401,000 for the regional library and local library operations.
The next is the health levy in the amount of $101,000. It has been noted previously that the city has paid off its commitment to the new Estevan Regional Nursing Home committee, so the health levy will be lower than in past years.
In 2020, the health levy generated $296,169.
It has also been noted by council that the decrease in the health levy is expected to offset the increase in the education portion of property tax.
A lengthy discussion of health care in the community broke out before this year’s health levy was approved.
Councillor Lindsay Clark wanted to know if the hospital contacted the city to say how much it need. He also wanted to know how the hospital uses the money and if there are any guidelines.
“Usually it’s the foundation that requests [the amount] and then we give them accordingly,” said Mayor Roy Ludwig. “They did make a larger request than what we gave this time. This time the $100,000 is designated for doctor recruitment.”
The mayor predicted the foundation would be happy to explain where the recruitment money is directed.
“It’s all money that the foundation uses, and every dollar is accounted for,” said Ludwig.
Finally, Clark wanted to know if other communities have a health levy. Ludwig said some communities do. The City of Estevan stepped forward years ago to help with physician recruitment.
“Because of the shortage of doctors, in our area, throughout the province, throughout the country, a lot of the communities have come to the table and put extra resources forward to help get doctors,” said Clark.
Ludwig noted Estevan has had to bring in physicians from smaller communities to meet the needs of Estevan, and the competition for doctors remains fierce.
Several physicians have left the community in the past few weeks, but Councillor Kirsten Walliser said three are coming in their place.
Finally, council approved the business improvement district levy that will generate approximately $27,500.