At their regular meeting Monday, City council approved the 2018 capital and operating budgets, which will allow the City to maintain service delivery at current levels.
“Council believes this is a prudent and realistic budget, responsive to the needs and preferences of our citizens,” said Mayor Grant Creasey. “It allows us to develop new infrastructure to encourage economic growth, which will help ease the burden on residential ratepayers.
“The budget process has been open and transparent, and we are committed to delivering value to taxpayers.”
Consistent with council’s budget guidelines, the 2018 Operating Budget reflects a 1.3% tax rate increase. An average house valued at $373,033 will see an increase of $30.28 for the year.
“Administration has worked diligently with council to prepare a budget that considers forward-looking requirements in a fiscally responsible manner,” said Acting Chief Administrative Officer Matthew Goudy. “Council is investing for long-term economic growth, improving quality of living and securing a stronger future for our City.”
Meanwhile, the City of Lacombe’s 2018 Operating Budget has combined total revenues and expenses of $35,669,789, resulting in a balanced budget. Budget highlights include additional property tax revenues resulting from a 1.3% tax increase that generates $176,800; a 1% increase for Lacombe Police Service Members; a 0.4% cost of living adjustment for all other City employees; debt repayment amounts to a total of $2,445,239 ($845,163 interest and $1,600,075 principal) and transfer payments to reserves that amount to a total of $2,173,415.
The City will provide $1,021,206 in funding allocations to external agencies in 2018, up slightly from $995,891 in 2017.
Water rates will remain at 2017 levels; however, the wastewater consumption rate will increase from $1.47 to $2.15 per m3 charged at 100% of water consumption used). The monthly flat rate will increase from $19.52 to $20 per month.
Based on an average, water consumption of 18 cubic meters will result in a $18.06 per month increase.
The residential monthly solid waste rate remains at $27.86 per month in 2018; however, apartment rates will increase by $1.03 to $17.27 per month, and commercial rates will increase by $9.91 to $109.89 per month.
The 2018 Capital Budget will also see a total of $2.838 million dollars in 38 new capital projects and $15.175 million in carryover costs from 2017 projects, for a total of $18.013 million.
The majority of costs are related to the following – West Area Servicing (water and sewer trunk main/76th St. and Highway 12 intersection upgrade) – $15,175,608; Henner’s Storm Outlet (design and land only) – $310,000; Eastbound left turn lane at 50th Ave. and 58th St. – $306,075; north taxiway at the Lacombe Airport – $128,000; public works building roof replacement/washroom renovations – $287,810 and trail system improvements – $608,475.
The balance of expenditures is spread through a variety of infrastructure projects, equipment and vehicle acquisitions.
Public input into the budget process was solicited through the 2018 Citizen Budget Survey, conducted from July 17th to Aug. 4th.
Additional public feedback was received at the 2018 Budget Public Open House on Nov. 14th at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.
The budget presentation was also posted online with a survey link to gather additional public comments.
“Council appreciates the public’s increased interest in providing input and suggestions for the 2018 budget,” said Creasey. “We will continue this citizen-centric process in future budget processes.”
Council will formally set the property tax rate in April 2017, after the assessment roll is prepared and the provincial budget is announced.