Following the priorities set out in the County’s 2015 – 2017 Strategic Plan and its long-range capital plans, Lacombe County council has approved the Lacombe County 2015 interim operating budget.
The $45,899,080 operating budget is balanced and is supported by a 2.75% increase in property tax rates and a transfer of $963,670 from the tax rate stabilization reserve to operating revenue.
Council also approved the 2015 interim capital budget, which provides for revenues and expenditures of $22,497,470, which is an increase of $4,294,580 over the 2014 capital budget.
“The 2015 operating budget reflects the current cost of doing business and will allow Lacombe County to maintain current service levels to our residents. From a long-term point of view, the modest increase in the mill rate will ensure that Lacombe County continues to maintain a solid financial position,” said County Commissioner Terry Hager.
As a cornerstone of its Strategic Plan, council has put a high priority on sustainable and financially viable levels of service for the current and future needs of our citizens. With this in mind, council approved a number of initiatives for 2015, while at the same time reducing costs in several areas. The operating budget is based on a municipal tax rate increase of 2.75% for residential, non-residential and farmland properties.
While council approves the interim operating and capital budgets in December of each year, the final budgets and tax rates are not set until the following spring, when the property tax levy for education purposes is determined by the province.
Municipal tax rates are set by aligning the total budget requirements for the year with the total assessed value of all properties in the County.
Of the County’s $45,899,080 operating budget, $26,320,350 is funded through property taxation, with the balance coming from federal and provincial grants, user and service fees, investment income and reserve transfers. As well, $437,470 in property taxes will again be collected on behalf of the Lacombe Foundation to support the operation of their facilities.
The $22,497,470 capital budget is funded by $3,975,640 from operating budget revenues (property tax revenue), $6,928,310 in federal and provincial grants, $10,641,020 from reserves and $242,500 from trade-in of equipment. $710,000 will be carried forward from the 2014 budget for capital initiatives that were not completed last year and funded from the Operational Reserve. Officials have said each year council works through the task of managing resources in order to maintain a balance between needs and future growth.
“Lacombe County has approved the interim operating and capital budget for 2015 with a proposed increase of 2.75 per cent. Council and staff worked to keep the increase as minimal as possible in order to maintain service levels, but also take into consideration long range planning,” said Reeve Paula Law.