Council supports cost of living increase

Rimbey’s interim budget shows slight increase

Rimbey town council and staff will receive a two-per cent cost of living increase to be effective Jan. 1

At its meeting, Tuesday, council unanimously agreed on the increase.

“It’s not a raise,” said Mayor Rick Pankiw. “It’s a cost of living index.”

The cost of living increase will increase expenses for the 2019 operating budget, which council will use as an interim budget, by $40,922.

Council agreed to use the 2019 budget as an interim budget until the final operating budget is adopted.

The Municipal Corporate Planning Regulation states municipality must adopt, as a minumum standard, a written three-year financial plan and five-year capital plan in addition to the annual budget.

Council passed the five-year capital plan in the spring of 2019 along with the 2019 capital budget.

Council will schedule budget deliberations in March after the final property assessments have been received.

Any applicable merit increases would be included in the regular budget deliberations which have been slated for March of 2020.

The interim operating budget shows the town’s expenditures at 6,312,978. This includes salaries and benefits, ($1.948,878) million), council salaries and benefits ($138,158), contracted services ($494,795), goods and utilities, ($1.709,552 million), local requisitions ($486,095), provincial requisitions ($926,896) and interest and debt repayments ($489,104).

Due to an unusually high number of water breaks this year, the $40,000 contingency fund included in the $59,000 alloted for repairs and maintenance was exceeded by $70,000.

At its meeting, council agreed to transfer the funding from water reserves to the operating budget to cover the shortfall.

“It’s the worst year we’ve ever had for water breaks,” said Pankiw.

He noted that infrastructure is getting older, the weather and developers not following correct standards may all have been contributing factors.

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