Blackfalds Town council has approved a $19.9 million budget.
At its meeting Tuesday, council voted in favour of adopting the proposed operational budget of $19,997,400 and the capital budget at $5,593,000.
“I think it addresses some of our shortfalls as we’ve grown so rapidly. This is a super community and this is a super budget,” said Councillor William Taylor.
Chief Administrative Officer Corinne Newman agreed. “I believe this is a great budget. Growth is paying for growth.”
Mayor Melodie Stol also shared her thoughts on the strengths of the budget.
“I’m very pleased that this budget helps accomplish the goals that were laid out in the Municipal Sustainability Plan and again, I commend every member of the team who put their stamp on this budget.”
In order to provide higher levels of service, the budget includes funds for six new full-time positions with the Town, two existing positions to go to full-time and the addition of one new bylaw officer to Blackfalds.
These additions are outside of the staff for the Abbey Centre which is slated to be operational in 2014. Two of the additional staff will be in public works.
As snow removal is on the minds of everyone right now, administration commented on how these additions will improve snow removal for the Town, saying that having the additional personnel and better equipment included in the budget will translate to public works being able to clear snow more efficiently.
Newman said the addition of another bylaw officer will allow the Town to “keep up” with the increased traffic and property issues. She added it will also allow for greater flexibility in creating shifts for bylaw officers and allow for double the coverage.
The budget also includes a net municipal tax increase of 1.5% over 2013 and an average increase for utility rates of $3.93 monthly per household. Property taxes, operating reserve transfers, user fees and cost sharing agreements fund the operating budget and the capital budget is funded by reserves, grants and developmental levies.