Approved 2017 budget reduces taxes, maintains services
November 28, 2016
Strathcona County’s 2017 budget, approved November 28, responds to economic and market conditions, maintains required service levels, and reduces costs by achieving ever greater efficiencies.
Budget 2017 calls for a 2.15 per cent tax dollar decrease, while supporting municipal operating needs and capital projects. A single-family residential property assessed at $450,000 will see a decrease of $3.44 per month, or $41.27 per year for municipal services.
“Council has been working closely with administration since 2015 to adopt priority-based budgeting (PBB). Today, we are seeing the positive result of this approach – a tax decrease, with no loss to service levels or infrastructure maintenance,” says Mayor Carr. “In addition to PBB, we have realized significant efficiencies by reviewing our history of budgets to actuals, and budgeting less conservatively and by reallocating resources across departments to fund areas of higher priority.”
For the coming year, Municipal Price Inflation (MPI) on average is projected to be approximately 1.1 per cent for Strathcona County municipal operations. MPI is based on the basket of goods and services, such as roadway materials, snow clearing equipment and technology that the County requires to deliver programs.
Mayor Carr adds, “The approved 2017 budget represents ongoing progress in our transition to a priority-based business planning and budgeting process. We are still adjusting to a new way of looking at our programs and budgets. It will take time to realize the full benefit of this approach.”
The consolidated operating budget approved for 2017 amounts to $354 million. In addition to maintaining the core services that enhance Strathcona County residents’ quality of life, the budget funds new services, and several important initiatives that advance Council’s strategic vision.
Full year costs have also been built into Budget 2017 to operate the new facilities that opened this fall. These include the Emerald Hills Aquatic Centre, the Emerald Hills Artificial Turf Pavilion and Regional Park, the Broadview Enviroservice Station, modernized Glen Allan Recreation Complex, and a new snowmelt facility.
New initiatives for 2017 include the Community Hall Sustainability Strategy and recommendations arising from the Agricultural Master Plan Urban Agriculture strategy. The County will also renew its social framework; complete a joint study between Utilities and the City of Edmonton to review the water line on 34 Street, and acquire enhanced air photos and related software to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in Assessment and Tax program and several other departments.
The approved 2017 capital budget of $65.6 million invests in maintaining County infrastructure, and provides for new infrastructure to support services.
Capital projects for 2017 include engineering, design, and land purchase for a multi-purpose agricultural facility; improvements to Petroleum Way; completion of the Trans Canada Trail, a multi-use trail network between Sherwood Park and the North Saskatchewan River valley in the City of Edmonton; renovation of the Ordze Transit Centre to lower the platform to accommodate the height of double-decker buses, and replacement of the radio system for first responders.
The final municipal tax rate is approved in the spring of 2017. In addition to the municipal property tax requirement, the consolidated tax rate will factor in requisition amounts for provincial education, the Strathcona County Library, and the Heartland Housing Foundation.
County user fees and charges remain largely unchanged. Utility fees for water, wastewater, stormwater management, and solid waste collection will increase by .1 per cent or $1.44 per year for the average urban residential utility customer.
Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of almost 96,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of refining in Western Canada. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.
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Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595