Council approves budget 2020

December 5, 2019

Council approves budget 2020

Strathcona County Council today approved the 2020 operating and capital budgets and the 2021-2023 operating and 2021-2024 capital budgets in principle.

This budget represents the second year of a multi-year planning and execution approach introduced last year. Presentations focused on proposed changes (the delta) to 2020-2022 operating budgets approved in principal (AIP) by Council in 2018. An estimate of the 2023 budget was also presented.

Budget 2020 calls for a 1.21 per cent tax dollar increase. A sample single-family residential property assessed at $432,000 will see an increase of $22.09 per year for municipal services. The projected tax rates for the 2021-2023 AIP budgets are 1.98, 1.88, and 1.61 per cent, respectively.

“Deliberations were complicated this year by a delay in the province announcing its 2019 budget, and the need to incorporate impacts to municipal revenues,” says Mayor Rod Frank. “The full extent of some of the changes proposed is still unclear. We believe there may be additional impacts to municipal revenue next spring, when the province is set to announce its 2020 budget."

“Strathcona County’s 2020 budget is prudent, based on what we know today, and what risks we face going forward. For example, we included $760,000 for rural policing, based on recently announced changes to the provincial funding model. This bridging budget gives us time and financial space to adjust to ongoing changes as they come to light. It does so by striking an appropriate balance between maintaining current service levels, identifying savings, and implementing critical and one-time program enhancements. Our administrative team has also identified and will be assessing possible service level changes, should that become necessary in the future.”

The consolidated operating budget approved for 2020 amounts to $377 million. In addition to maintaining the core services that enhance Strathcona County residents’ quality of life, the budget addresses revenue impacts; largely through ongoing efforts to enhance efficiency and identify savings. For 2020, these include reducing vacant positions, based on slower growth projections; halting further work on the Community Hub concept, and reducing department budgets, based on actuals.

Budget 2020 also funds critical and one-time initiatives, many focused on public safety, such as replacing the computer aided dispatch (CAD) system and transitioning to next generation 911 call services. Others include replacing the Festival Place ticketing system, adding a mobility bus rural weekend service, developing a business case for community broadband, creating a Campbelltown Heights Area Redevelopment Plan and investing in large scale community events.

The approved 2020 capital budget of $111 million invests in maintaining County infrastructure and provides for new infrastructure enabling service delivery. Capital projects for 2020 include: the multi-purpose agriculture facility, South Cooking Lake residential water fill station, Strathcona Olympiette Centre revitalization, building security enhancements, and the Information Technologies Services (ITS) corporate infrastructure replacement program. The AIP capital budgets for 2021-2024 are $51, $92, $52, and $85 million, respectively.

The final municipal tax rate is approved in the spring of 2020. 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.

Utility fees for water, wastewater, stormwater management, and solid waste collection will increase by 2.78 per cent, which is an additional $3.19/month or $38.28 per year for the average urban residential utility customer in 2020.

More information on the 2020 Budget

Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of over 98,000 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 hydrocarbon processing in Western Canada. Strathcona County is a leader in environmental conservation, and 55 per cent of its land is within the UNESCO Beaver Hills Biosphere. 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