On Nov. 30th, Lacombe County council adopted the County’s 2018 interim operating and capital budgets. The budgets continue to follow priorities set out in the County’s Strategic Plan and its long-range road construction and capital equipment replacement plans.
They also reflect the desire to support the maintenance of existing service levels, while undertaking some new initiatives, such as funding for an RCMP enhanced position to help combat crime in our area.
The $56,315,470 interim operating budget is balanced and is supported by a 2.5% property tax rate increase for residential properties and 4.5% property tax rate increase for all other properties and a transfer of $322,300 from the tax rate stabilization reserve.
The 2.5% property tax rate increase represents an additional $24.40 in taxes on a $400,000 residential property.
“The 2018 budget recognizes the challenges Alberta has faced over the past few years due to the economic downturn – both from a municipal, ratepayer and industry perspective,” said Manager of Corporate Services Tim Timmons.
“Council felt this budget will allow Lacombe County to take advantage of the competitive pricing environment for new infrastructure projects, while protecting our existing infrastructure assets.”
The 2018 interim capital budget, which provides for revenues and expenditures of $26,602,690, saw an increase of $7.066 million from last year’s budget. Highlights of the capital budget include:
• A partnership with the City of Lacombe to extend water and wastewater services from the City of Lacombe to County lands west of Hwy. 2, including the Wildrose Industrial Park, with the County’s share totaling $7,416,440.
• Construction and rehabilitation of 19 kms of local roads ($4.5 million)
• An additional 21 kms of road paving projects ($10.3 million)
• Wastewater infrastructure improvements to the Hamlet Mirror’s wastewater storage system totaling $54,000.
Each year Council works through the complex task of managing resources in order to maintain a balance between present needs and future growth.
“While it’s important to maintain service levels and to consider the County’s future sustainability, we recognized the challenges faced by our municipality, and municipalities around Alberta,” said County Reeve Paula Law.
“Council felt this budget will balance the reality of managing a municipality with the expectations of our ratepayers.”
While the interim operating and capital budgets are approved 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 set by the Province and property assessment values have been confirmed.