Approved 2015-2018 Corporate Business Plan and 2015 Budget maintain services, while advancing Council's strategic priorities

December 10, 2014

ph-comc-NR-Budget-465x175.jpg

Strathcona County’s 2015-2018 Corporate Business Plan and 2015 Budget,  approved on December 9, reflect the cost to maintain services, while funding initiatives that advance Council’s prioritized strategic goals.

The 2015 Budget requires a 2.58 per cent tax dollar increase to support municipal operating needs and capital projects. A single-family residential property assessed at $425,000 will see an approximate $47.49 yearly increase for municipal services.

“The 2015 municipal tax increase is below municipal inflation estimates,” says Mayor Roxanne Carr. “Our challenge was to keep the tax increase at a minimum, while maintaining a high level of service, and supporting new activities that advance our vision of becoming Canada’s most livable community. I believe we have struck the right balance with this budget.”

For the coming year, Municipal Price Inflation (MPI) on average is projected to be approximately 3.0 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 proposed 2015-2018 Corporate Business Plan and 2015 Budget represent the first year of our transition to a priority-based budgeting process, an approach we adopted as a result of re-engineering our business planning and budgeting process. This signifies a fundamental change in the way resources are allocated and the way our organization works.”

The municipal operating budget approved for 2015 amounts to $336 million. In addition to maintaining the core services that enhance Strathcona County residents’ quality of life, several important initiatives are funded in the operating budget that advance Council’s strategic vision.

These include: planning studies for major road networks, targeted technology improvements, improved rural internet access, business attraction and development, ongoing growth management studies, municipal land strategy, and an Agriculture Master Plan.

The approved 2015 Capital Budget of $66 million represents the capital needs required to support municipal service delivery and utility and library operations.

The capital budget speaks to the County’s commitment to invest in efficient and effective municipal infrastructure to meet the needs of the growing community. It also optimizes existing investment to ensure the County infrastructure is in good repair and adequately funds capital programs.

Capital projects for 2015 include: annual parking lot and rural road rehabilitation programs, annual traffic and pedestrian safety improvements, schematic design for revitalization of the Kinsmen Leisure Centre, Centre in the Park development and improvements, Clover Bar Road and Emerald Drive intersection improvements, Range Road 231 and Highway 16 construction, and business case with the City of Edmonton to assess the potential of a compost cure site.

The final municipal tax rate is approved in the spring of 2015. In addition to the municipal property tax requirement, the tax rate will factor in requisition amounts for provincial education, the Strathcona County Library, and the Heartland Housing Foundation.

Selected County user fees and charges will increase to keep pace with market conditions and to offset increased costs of providing fee-based services.

Utility fees for water, wastewater, stormwater management, and solid waste collection will increase by approximately $47 per year, or 3.25 per cent, for the average urban residential utility customer. Utility operations are self-sustaining; no municipal property taxes are required to support these services, with the exception of Utilities’ recycling stations and Enviroservice events.

More information on the 2015 – 2018 Corporate Business Plan and 2015 Budget.

Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of more than 92,000 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.

- 30 -

Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595