Lacombe County Council has adopted the County’s 2022 interim operating and capital budgets.
The budget supports the maintenance of existing service levels while managing the County’s spending in a responsible manner that reflects the current economic situation and follows the priorities set out in the County’s Strategic Plan, long-range road construction plan, and capital equipment replacement plan.
“We have faced a number of unique economic challenges over the last few years, including a significant loss in revenue from oil and gas well taxes and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Michael Minchin, Director of Corporate Services. “Council voted to approve an interim budget for 2022 that recognizes the challenges and uncertainty in our province while ensuring service levels remain at a high level.”
Each year, Council works through the complex task of managing resources to balance present needs and future growth.
“Maintaining service levels and considering the County’s future growth is factored into the 2022 interim budgets, as we know that our ratepayers expect excellent service through our infrastructure and maintenance programs,” said Barb Shepherd, Lacombe County Reeve. “Council feels this budget takes into consideration the uncertainties facing Lacombe County, while delivering high-quality services that residents deserve.”
Interim operating and capital budgets are approved each year. They are the first stage of a two-stage process that authorizes the County to spend on approved projects and conduct operations on Jan. 1, 2022.
Stage two is the approval of the final budgets and tax rates and occurs in the following spring when the Province sets the property tax levy for education purposes and when property assessment values have been confirmed.
The $57,267,410 interim operating budget (a 1.5 per cent increase over 2021) is balanced and maintains existing service levels. Highlights of the operating budget include:
• An allowance for the expected assessment reductions for oil and gas assessments. Industrial properties are projected to increase slightly. Final assessment figures will be included in the final version of budget in the Spring of 2022.
• Provisions for higher fuel and insurance costs have been included in each department’s budget estimates.
• Community recreation facility operating grants have been adjusted for inflation.
The 2022 interim capital budget is $24,097,650, an increase of $4.12 million (20.60 per cent) compared to 2021. Highlights of the capital budget include:
• $12.57 million in road construction.
• $2.80 million in bridge replacement projects, a decrease of $1.58 million from 2021.
• Equipment and vehicle replacements are increasing by $6.535 million, including $1.243 million in fire equipment.