At their regular meeting Monday, Council adopted the 2019 Capital and Operating budgets.
Consistent with Council’s budget guidelines, the 2019 Operating Budget reflects a 2.8 per cent tax rate increase, aligned with the Alberta Consumer Price Index. This means that an average house in Lacombe valued at $372,000 will see a total increase of $87 in 2019.
“Council believes this is a prudent and realistic budget, responsive to the needs and preferences of our citizens,” said Mayor Grant Creasey. “It allows the City to keep pace with the rising cost of service delivery without placing undue burden on taxpayers.”
“We’re really happy to be delivering a budget that is, for a second year, consistent with inflation.” said Chief Administrative Officer Matthew Goudy. “While recognizing the need for fiscal restraint, Council is also investing for long-term economic growth, improving quality of living and securing a stronger future for our city.”
2019 Operating Budget
The City of Lacombe’s 2019 Operating Budget has combined total revenues and expenses of $44M, resulting in a balanced budget. Budget highlights include:
- Debt repayment amounts to a total of $2.5M
- Increased saving into City reserves
- Planning for growth
- Increased funding for parks and playgrounds
- Money allocated to support community projects through the Community Builder Partnership
- Growth of the City’s art collection, and maintenance of existing artworks, including the City’s murals
- Increased grants to external groups
The City is making historic investments in long-term infrastructure and economic development. In total, the 2019 Operating Budget includes $1.8M in new debt, along with $6.6M in carryover debt from 2018, to support development on the west, north, and east sides of the community.
2019 Capital Budget
The 2019 Capital Budget will see a total of $6.5M in new expenditures spread through 43 projects. Roads and underground infrastructure are the majority of capital costs for 2019, with building improvements, equipment, and vehicles accounting for the rest of the project costs.
Funding for new projects in the 2019 Capital Budget is sourced primarily from grant funding at $3.4M, with reserves at $1.4M. Major projects anticipated in 2019 include:
• West Area Servicing: This Intermunicipal project will extend services to the western boundary of the City, and beyond, into Lacombe County – $11.6M (2018 carryover)
• Highway 12/76 Street Intersection Upgrade: To facilitate the increase in traffic from adjacent development/bypass road system – $3.5M (2018 carryover)
• Fairway Drive Sidewalks – $553,500
• Northstar Drive: Replacement of curb and sidewalk, road base, road surface, water mains, sanitary sewer mains and storm sewer mains – $1.4M 10 Year Capital Plan
The City’s long-term infrastructure needs have been planned for through a fully funded 10 Year Capital Plan.
The plan was revised according to Council’s strategic goals, and is less reliant on municipal coffers. The new plan includes about half of the debt borrowing that was included in the previous plan and is more reliant on external funding sources, such as provincial and federal granting programs.
Public input into the budget process was solicited through the 2019 Citizen Budget Survey, conducted in August 2018. Additional public feedback was received at the 2018 Budget Public Open House on November 15, 2018, at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.
The budget presentation was also posted online for public review. Council will formally set the property tax rate in April 2019, after the assessment roll is prepared and the provincial budget is announced.
For more information on the 2019 Capital and Operating budget, please see the November 26, 2018, Council meeting agenda at http://www.lacombe.ca/home/showdocument?id=11325.
-Submitted by the City of Lacombe