County of Stettler Council passed the 2017-2019 County of Stettler Budget on Wednesday, December 14 at their regular council meeting. A public budget presentation was held Friday, December 2.
This is the first year a three year budget was presented. The idea behind a three-year budget is that it provides Council and ratepayers with a greater understanding of future obligations and the financial commitments of the County.
- Going forward this budget provides that the County can continue to maintain our existing level of service and continue to capitalize on grant monies as they become available. The new Public Works Facility is funded by MSI Capital grant funding and partially out of County reserves.
- Any potential loss in Linear and Machinery & Equipment property taxes has been built into our three year projections.
- This budget presented included a zero increase in taxes for 2017 and a zero increase is projected for 2018 and 2019.
- Administration has recommended the delay of almost all capital purchases in the 2017 and 2018 budget. The County is comfortable the equipment fleet is in excellent condition and age. Two new graders were added to the County fleet in 2015 and two more graders were added in 2016. With the good fortune of having back-to-back mild winters, an additional year of life has been added to all County graders. Graders are historically a large portion of our annual capital budget - over $1.2 million a year.
- In 2017 the County will be finalizing capital investments/projects including Erskine East Subdivision and Erskine Water Servicing Project - providing much needed access to clean potable water in the hamlet.
- This budget shows a 17% reduction in gravel surfacing over 2016 where 131,065 tonnes were laid. This budget proposes laying 108,655 tonnes. With reduced industrial traffic due to the downturn in the economy we do not require the spread we did in 2016, and in fact have been receiving the feedback of too much gravel on some of our roads. In 2015, 175,000 tonnes of gravel were spread as part of a ‘catch-up’ to the County gravel program. The maintenance program is now holding these roads in steady and good repair.
- This budget included an increase to the part-time fire fighter salary budget. Stettler Regional Fire is down to a critical number of members and historically only retains 30% of recruits. They hope an increase in remuneration will assist in retention goals.
To review the full budget document please click on the link.