Council digs deep to reduce tax burden for residents and businesses

November 25, 2022

Council digs deep to reduce tax burden for residents and businesses

In an economic climate of high inflation, increased energy costs, supply shortages, shrinking grant dollars and post pandemic recovery realities, Strathcona County Council dug deep to look at ways to lessen the impact of these challenges to keep property taxes as low as possible.

Following budget deliberations on November 24, Council approved a 4.6 per cent tax revenue increase, lowering it from the 5.5 per cent increase proposed in the recommended budget presented earlier in November.

“Facing significantly higher costs outside of our control, such as fuel, utilities and materials needed to run County services, the 2023 budget has been a tough one,” says Mayor Frank. “Combine our large urban-rural municipality with these inflationary costs, and it’s a lot to balance without cutting into service levels. We recognize every dollar counts for our residents and businesses. From where we started, we’ve managed to pare down costs to bring in even a slimmer budget and tax impact, while overall maintaining our excellent services.”

A sample single-family residential property assessed at $431,000 (average sample) would see an increase of $84 more a year, or $7 monthly, for municipal services.

The impact for a non-residential sample property of $1.8 million would be $804 more annually, or $67 monthly. A $500,000 non-residential sample property would see an increase of $220 annually, or $18 monthly.

The approved 2023 consolidated operating budget amounts to $409.1 million. The budget primarily maintains most programs and services, while adding minimal new initiatives.

Included in the budget under Council Driven Initiatives are: outreach services to increase a coordinated crisis response on mental health issues, more dollars to support Social Framework Community Grants, an increased municipal contribution to STARS Air Ambulance, and increased funding for Community Hall Grants to help with inflationary pressures.

Finding savings and efficiencies are always built-in as part of the County’s budgeting. Reallocating funding to higher priority needs is a constant practice. The County has also reduced its year-end surpluses over the years. These measures have resulted in tighter, leaner budgets. For 2023, savings were achieved through reduced management positions, and organizational streamlining. In response to changes in the public’s use of recreation and culture services, slight service level adjustments are being implemented, including reduced recreation facility operating hours. Training and development, business expenses, and salaries and wages were all further reduced, in addition to Council voting to reduce its budgets.

In 2023, the County will align its priority-based budgeting to the new strategic plan goals and 2023-2026 priorities, and establish the “Lean Methodology” framework that focuses on continuous improvement and identifying inefficient practices.

The approved 2023 capital budget of $63.4 million concentrates on maintaining County infrastructure. Annual programs that ensure the care and upkeep of our facilities and protect our investments continue to be a main staple of the budget. One 2023 project highlight is the $3 million Ardrossan Curling Rink replacement. Other larger projects, such as the indoor fieldhouse, reside in future years.

A new strategy to replenish reserves, starting with a $1.25 million contribution in 2023, will support the capital program and sustainment of the County’s existing infrastructure and assets.

Some County user fees and charges increased slightly, many of these had not seen increases for several years.

On the utility fees side, water, wastewater, stormwater management, and solid waste collection will increase by 3.7 per cent or $4.48 per month for the average urban residential utility customer.

The final municipal tax rate is approved in the spring of 2023. 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.

More information on the budget is found at

Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595