Lacombe County council adopts 2023 interim budgets

(File photo)

Lacombe County Council has adopted the County’s 2023 interim operating and capital budgets. Each year, Lacombe County council and administration meet to establish what follows the priorities set out in the County’s Strategic Plan and multi-year operating and capital plans.

For 2023, council’s focus was on continuing to deliver high levels of services to ratepayers while minimizing tax rate increases.

“We recognize that the challenges of inflation are impacting all our residents and businesses,” said Michael Minchin, director of Corporate Services.

“Council voted to approve interim capital and operating budgets for 2023 that recognize these issues while ensuring the expenses of maintaining and running Lacombe County are addressed.”

Interim operating and capital budgets are approved each year in two stages:

• Stage 1: The interim budgets are approved, which authorizes the County to spend on approved projects and conduct operations on Jan. 1, 2023. Tax rates are NOT approved at this stage.

• Stage 2: The final budgets and tax rates are approved. This occurs in the spring, after the Province sets the property tax levy for education purposes and when property assessment values have been confirmed.

Each year, council works through the complex task of managing resources to balance present needs and future growth.

“The challenges facing our municipality are similar to those facing our residents, rising costs and uncertain interest rate increases. Council feels this budget will balance the reality of our current economic environment, without negatively impacting our ratepayers,” said Reeve Barb Shepherd.

“Maintaining service levels and considering the County’s future growth is factored into the 2023 interim budgets, as we know that our ratepayers expect consistent service levels through our capital and operating programs.”

2023 Interim Operating Budget

The $51,184,050 interim operating budget is balanced and maintains existing service levels. Highlights of the operating budget include:

• Providing 2022 levels of service indexed for 2023 using an inflation factor of three percent excluding the labour component.

• A proposed transfer of $48,690 from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve.

• Included user fees for paid parking at recreation areas and beaches.

2023 Interim Capital Budget

The 2023 interim capital budget is $20,680,210 which is a decrease of $3.51 million (14.50 per cent) compared to 2022). Of the $20.68 million in capital spending in 2023, $8.73 million (42.22 per cent) is sourced through funds set aside in prior years through the capital replacement plans, compared to $10.47 million in 2022.

Highlights of the capital budget include:

• A decrease in road projects of $1.64 million.

• A slight decrease of $50,480 for bridge projects, including replacements and engineering.

• Equipment and vehicle replacements decrease by $2.82 million.

• Recreation projects of $1.09 million.

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