Both the County of Wetaskiwin and Lacombe County have approved their 2010 operating budgets and in each case, a substantial amount has been committed to roads and fire protection.
The Wetaskiwin budget, passed on Dec. 15, earmarked more than $2.1 million to their semi-annual gravelling program to service the county’s 2,027 kilometres of roads. In the budget, the county announced that they had embarked on a gravel-prospecting program and has secured a number of long-term gravel supplies.
Additionally, the interim budget, which is expected to be finalized in the spring of 2010, committed $310,000 for the purchase of a new pumper fire truck for the Wetaskiwin Rural Fire Department, along with salary adjustments. A further $1.08 million will be spent on construction projects.
Meanwhile, Lacombe County residents got a bit of an early Christmas present following the approval of the operating and capital budgets on Dec. 17 that will see a 10-per-cent decrease in spending over 2009.
“The 2010 budgets reflect reductions in a number of operating contingencies provided in previous years’ budgets, a significant decrease in the capital budget particularly as it relates to the purchase of new equipment, a decrease in the road paving program relative to 2009 and a reduction in the fuel budget by approximately $650,000,” said Reeve Terry Engen.
“Maintaining a near-consistent tax rate continues to be a priority for Lacombe County,” he continued. “The significant cutbacks in our 2010 budget have allowed us to maintain the same municipal tax rates for residents and farm properties as we had in 2009.”
While their budget for road construction may have been reduced from the previous year, there’ll still be plenty of work ahead over the next 12 months, including five major paving projects with a combined cost of just under $7.5 million.
Other highlights of the Lacombe County budget include $142,390 in funding to a number of water and wastewater projects, a $69,880 contribution to Lacombe Regional Fire Services and the purchase on a new fire pumper truck, new fire tanker truck and upgrades to the Alix Fire Hall.
In all, the 2010 Lacombe County operating budget amounts to $36.7 million while the total County of Wetaskiwin budget will not be determined until after the provincial government announces its 2010 budget, which is expected in late February.