City council approved the 2023 Operating Budget based on council’s desire to limit the tax increase to five percent, plus an additional one percent Special Paving tax.
The five percent tax increase translates to about $800,000 in additional tax revenue.
The Special Paving Tax represents an additional $160,000 designated to maintain overall road conditions, supporting the Road Asset Management Plan that was presented to Council on May 3, 2021.
“Lacombe City council is pleased to approve the 2023 Operating Budget, which aligns with council’s goal of maintaining tax increases to or below inflation,” Mayor Grant Creasey said.
“This Operating Budget balances our current economic challenges while positioning us for future financial success.”
The budget process started in June, with council taking part in budget workshop sessions in October. Suggestions for the 2024 Budget are accepted year-round at lacombe.ca/CouncilConnect.
Utility funded operations
The 2023 budget for the Water Department revenues is $306,546 higher than the 2022 approved budget. The 2023 Operating Budget includes a 5.4 percent increase in user fee revenue, offset by a $277,000 increase in transfer to the water reserve.
The overall proposed 2023 revenue budget for the Wastewater Department is about $140,000 higher than the 2022 approved budget, with a $187,000 increase in transfer to the wastewater reserve. The proposed 2023 Operating Budget includes a 2.4 percent increase in user fee revenue.
The proposed 2023 Operating Budget for the Solid Waste Department revenue is $116,136 higher than 2022. This is about 3.6 percent higher user fee revenue than the 2022 approved budget.
Meanwhile, council also approved the 2023 Capital Budget, which includes 32 projects at the anticipated cost of $10.35 million.
The budget funding sources include $2.87 million from grant funding, $6.04 million from reserve fund withdrawals, $690,000 from other sources, and $750,000 from debentures.
“Council is excited to approve the 2023 Capital Budget,” said Creasey.
“This budget includes vital projects to our community and will ensure that our residents are getting the maximum return on their investment.”
The proposed funding will be distributed amongst four divisions, including $74,410 towards the Lacombe Police Service, $1,697,500 towards Corporate Services, $7,392,060 towards Operations and Planning Services, and $1,189,000 towards Community Services.
And finally, council also approved the 10-year Capital Plan, which outlines council’s future capital priorities.
The estimated capital expenditures represented in the 2023-2032 Capital plan are $80.7 million (before inflation).
“Approving the 10-year Capital Plan is a critical part of Council’s long-term financial planning,” Creasey said. “Evaluating our long-term capital expenses allows council to make prudent decisions today and will ensure Lacombe’s prosperous future.”
The plan also identifies potential funding sources, including third-party contributions, debenture borrowing, grants and reserve contributions.
The first year of the Capital Plan is the 2023 Capital Budget, which authorizes capital expenditures.
The remaining nine years (2024-2032) are for planning and do not authorize capital spending. The plan does meet provincial and federal requirements for multi-year capital planning.
Significant projects in the 10-year Capital plan include:
1. 2023 Capital Works Program – $5.7 million
2. Fire Station Building (2023 – $0.5 million, 2025 – $4.5 million) – $5.0 million
3. Fire Ladder Truck Replacement – (2023 $0.2 million, 2025 $0.7 million, 2026 $1.1million) – $2 million
4. Roads Renewal Program – Capital Works – (2024 – 2032) – Total Cost $16.2 million
5. New water reservoir and decommissioning of Pumphouse B – (2025 – $0.2 million, 2026 -$1.0 million, 2027 $9.8 million) – Total Cost $11.0 million
The 10-year Capital Plan is updated every year during the annual Budget process.