I would like to wish the residents of Hanna and surrounding area a Happy New Year.
In December, Council approved the 2016 Operating and Capital Budget, which anticipates a 2% tax increase. Council understands that we are in tough economic times and did our best to keep any potential increases to a minimum while maintaining the current level of service. However there are still significant infrastructure deficits that can’t be ignored and resources have been allocated to attempt to address some of the deficiencies. The municipal tax rate has remained the same for at least 5 years as Council and Administration have been very diligent at controlling our expenses. There is a chance that we may not have to increase the tax rate if the assessment is significantly more that we anticipate.
Many of you have probably seen or heard that I have been interviewed many times regarding the inevitable closure of the Sheerness Generating Station. Our Provincial Government has legislated that all coal fired generating stations be discontinued by the year 2030. A Climate Change Task Force has been spearheaded by the Cactus Corridor Economic Development Corporation with representation from the Town of Hanna and Special Areas. The Task Force is looking into what opportunities may arise, and what impact the closure will have for Hanna and the surrounding area.
My concern is that in the process, our Provincial Government is going to impose a carbon tax which will cost Albertans significantly. The carbon tax will affect the price of everything we purchase. The proposed tax not only taxes our industries which emit carbon, but also will be a flat increase to every litre of fuel we purchase. Portions of the carbon tax will be distributed to our power providers for them to Invest in renewable power solutions. Although this will help to offset the power generated by coal fired generating stations it will not be enough to replace what they are providing now. I want residents to know that this is a priority issue for the Town and all attempts will be made to keep the public informed as to how the task force is progressing.
Chris Warwick, Mayor