2015 surplus allocated to facilities, trails, roads and health and safety

February 24, 2016

2015 surplus allocated to facilities, trails, roads and health and safety

On February 23, Strathcona County reported a $17.9 million municipal surplus, representing 6.6 per cent of the $270 million municipal operating budget. 

“Hard to predict circumstances over a year, such as lower fuel prices, less snowfall, or better returns than expected, can alter actual budget requirements and result in a surplus,” says Mayor Roxanne Carr. “We will invest the surplus in facilities, trails, roads, essential internal business systems, and health and safety. Using these surplus dollars in this way allows the County to take advantage of beneficial cost matching opportunities, fund some emergent projects, and reduce debt financing, which in turn reduces future tax burden.”   

The municipal operating surplus is partly the result of lower than budgeted fuel, road oil and asphalt costs; savings in snow removal and RCMP contracted services; and greater gains on investments. Higher than estimated tax revenues, due to growth and earlier than anticipated property construction completions, also contributed to the surplus.

Surplus dollars can be used toward one-time initiatives, to replenish reserves, or to reduce the need to borrow on capital projects.

Strathcona County will allocate $250,000 from the surplus toward community hall maintenance and upgrades. Another $75,000 will pay for Automated External Defibrillators to be installed in County public spaces including community halls to support a “Heart Safe” community. A further $297,000 is being set aside from surplus to address future road maintenance requirements. Additionally, a total of $1.4 million of the 2015 surplus will fund a number of one-time operating items in the 2016 Budget.

Approximately $11 million of the surplus will partially fund the approved underground parkade being built in Centre in the Park, resulting in reduced borrowing and less future tax impact. Also to avoid debt, $4 million will go towards replacing the County’s central finance, human resources and procurement system, which has been in place for over 30 years.

The County will use $400,000 of the surplus to secure matching funding to construct the final connector trails in Strathcona County, which will tie into the vast trail network being developed in partnership with Trans Canada Trail and the River Valley Alliance.

Also factored into the surplus is an approximately $490,000 rebate from the Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) Partnerships in Injury Reduction program. These dollars will be allocated to County occupational health and safety education and new programs to support the safest workplace possible.

The utility operations surplus is approximately $3.1 million, representing 5.6 per cent of a $57 million budget. Utility operations are self-sustaining, funded through user-pay, not through property taxes.

The utility operations surplus was primarily due to delayed sanitary sewer rehabilitation, favourable contract revenue, and lower water and wastewater volumes than expected. The surplus will be allocated to utilities reserves to address future requirements.  

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, StrathconaCounty is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.

 

- 30 -

Contact:

Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595