Approved 2016 Budget maintains services

December 8, 2015

Approved 2016 Budget maintains services

Advances Council's strategic priorities and holds the line on spending

Strathcona County’s 2016 Budget, approved on December 8, responds to changing economic and market conditions, maintains required service levels, and holds the line on costs by achieving ever greater efficiencies.

The 2016 Budget requires a 0.7 per cent tax dollar increase to support municipal operating needs and capital projects. A single-family residential property assessed at $440,000 will see an increase of just over $1 per month, or $13 per year for municipal services.

“The 2016 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 2.6 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 2016 Budget represents continued progress in our transition to a priority-based business planning and budgeting process. This approach fundamentally changes how we allocate resources, and allows us to deliver sustainable programs and services, even in the face of changing economic and political realities.”

The consolidated operating budget approved for 2016 amounts to $348.5 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.

New services coming on stream this year 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.

Service enhancements for 2016 include phase I implementation of the Agriculture Master Plan, registration software for recreational programs, and an online research panel to enhance community engagement.

The approved 2016 Capital Budget of $94.6 million represents the capital needs required to support municipal service delivery and utility and library operations.

The capital budget speaks to the County’s focus on long-term sustainability, by ensuring the impacts of today’s decisions are known and addressed. It also optimizes existing investment to ensure the County infrastructure is in good repair and enables new infrastructure to support services.

Capital projects for 2016 include rehabilitation of the Wye Road noise attenuation wall, lifecycle replacement of aging corporate financial and human resource computer systems, SMART fare and SMART bus technology in partnership with the cities of Edmonton and St. Albert, and functional planning studies for northeast transportation systems in partnership with neighbouring municipalities and the Government of Alberta.

The final municipal tax rate is approved in the spring of 2016. 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.

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 $21 per year, or 1.41 per cent, for the average urban residential utility customer, and by $22.86 per year, or 1 per cent, for a typical rural customer.

More information on the 2016 Budget

 

Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of more than 95,000 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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Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595