Operating budget gets thumbs up by council

Rimbey town council gave the green light to its operating budget at its Feb. 8 meeting.

Rimbey town council gave the green light to its operating budget at its Feb. 8 meeting.

The $5.8 million budget will be adjusted when the assessments are finalized and the mill rate will be set at that time.

Interim CAO Donna Tona said the loss of the Alberta Provincial Senior Housing provincial grant of $26,000 was a bitter pill to swallow for Rimbey as it took away from much needed revenue.

However, she said council is running a tight ship and working hard to keep expenses in line. She is pleased council was able to purchase a Toro commercial mower for $10,000 less than budgeted for and also bought a new tandem truck for around$62,000, several thousand dollars less than the $73.5 thousand earmarked for the truck in the capital budget.

“Passing the capital budget early and taking advantage of January specials is being smart,” she said. “We are using due diligence and running efficient and lean. Staff are also taking on more responsibility within their positions.”

At $899,968 public works accounts for the largest portion of the operating budget.

This expense includes snow removal, street sweeping, maintenance, water testing, the operations of the lagoons and water system and upkeep of equipment.

“Typically public works is the highest cost in any municipality,” said Tona.

The school requisition coming in at $858,958 was the second highest expense in the operating budget.

Expenses for recreation for the 2016 operating budget showed $238,109 for the pool, $82,027 for the arena and $109,467for parks. The community centre cost $156,865, the library expenses are $121,108, the curling club cost $21,050 and the museum is $66,300.

Tona said she is pleased recreation programs are being well received and generating some income. She is hopeful the numbers showing people going through the pool will increase next year.

“We have a beautiful pool,” she said. “We need to get those numbers up.”

Composting is costing the town $25,313 with only $1,150 generated through revenue.

General operating expenses came in at $554,450 and administration costs have been budgeted at $177,803. General municipal revenue came in at $2,941,321.