The County of Wetaskiwin has approved the 2008 operating and capital budget as well as the tax rate bylaw, the final step in the approval process.
“The County of Wetaskiwin mission statement is to provide a consistent level of core services to the community enhancing the quality of life for present and future generations,” said Reeve Garry Dearing. “The budget must reflect a balance between the service needs and wants of the community and municipal resources, and the tax rate bylaw must generate sufficient funds to allow staff to provide those services.”
The tax rate bylaw will generate funds to cover estimated municipal expenditures and transfers through its municipal levy of $12,990,067. Additional levies applied will include a fine levy for all five fire zones in the amount of $241,808, emergency services levy in the amount of $847,441, and a recreational levy in the amount of $533,764.
The 2008 budget includes total expenses of $41,604,478 with total grant and service revenue of $20,526,388. The balance to be covered by property tax levies is $21,078,409.
Included in that amount are the above mentioned levies along with the Alberta School Foundation Fund Requisition in the amount of $6,065,329 and the Senior’s Home and community housing Association Requisition in the amount of $400,000.
Highlights of the budget include $12 million in projects including improvements to road, water and wastewater facilities and the purchase of a gravel pit. Of the $12 million budget, $11 million is funded through federal and provincial grants with the balance coming from the municipality.
Specifically, the budgeted amount and projects include $2.65 million for Correction Line base and pavement, $424,000 for compaction of solid waste, $30,000 for a tire recycling ramp at the Lakedell Transfer Station, approximately $2.7 million for transmission lines, distribution lines and reservoir for the Gwynne Water Project, $103,655 for the Winfield water well, approximately $2.3 million for road repairing and paving, $301,000 for the Winfield Public Works shop, $1.7 million for bridge infrastructure upgrading and replacement and $747,082 for the purchase of the gravel pit.
Other budget highlights include:
* An increase in the Seniors Homes Requisition of $150,000, the school requisition of $179,224 and the ambulance requisition of $169,179.
* The services of graveling roads and maintaining oiled roads will remain the same even though the price of gravel has increased by $554,737 and oil has increased by 25 percent.
* The development of a geographic information system.
* Budgeting for two new community peace officer positions.
* Self-contained breathing apparatuses for a number of fire departments at a total cost of $135,000, a new tanker truck for the South Pigeon Lake fire hall at a cost of $170,000 and a pumper truck for the Winfield Fire Department at a cost of $269,833.
* The equipping of two disaster trailers for disaster situations in the amount of $20,000.
* The addition of a grader beat for increased service on roads, and,
* A complete review and update of municipal development plans, area concept plans and land use bylaws.
“The County of Wetaskiwin is extremely pleased to be able to participate in provincial and federal grant programs that will accommodate some major upgrading of infrastructure over the next five to 10 years,” said Deputy Reeve Nancy Watson. “The provincial and federal programs continue to respond to municipal cries for financial assistance for aging infrastructure throughout Alberta and all the provinces.”
Tax notices, which will reflect a combination of assessment growth, tax rate changes and school levy requirements will be mailed to county taxpayers by June 10, 2008.