Whitecourt Town Council officially passed the 2019 budget at their meeting last week.
In a press release, the Town gave an outline of budget highlights.
The 2019 budget is valued at just over $55.1 million and requires a 2.64% tax increase to municipal mill rates for both residential and business properties.
The Capital Budget totals $15,756,526 and the Operating Budget totals $39,376,295.
The revenue collection from taxation totals $14,102,515, accounting for 26% of the municipality’s total revenue.
In the press release, Mayor Maryann Chichak says, “This year’s budget is exceptional in the way that there are a number of variables and external factors that the municipality has no control over which are unique to 2019. Upcoming federal and provincial elections, the economy, as well as negotiations with municipal partners, have the potential to greatly impact our community and our operations. Given these variables, the 2019 Budget is conservative; and I believe we have found a balance that will allow us to meet current community needs, and be prepared to manage any pressures these external factors may bring. This year’s budget also reflects the municipality’s strategic direction and priorities, and our responsibility to prudent financial management.”
Chichak told XM 105 FM at the Council meeting that this year’s budget is “status quo” in comparison to previous years.
In the press release, Chichak added, “Budget decisions outline the funding for all municipal operations and activities – including infrastructure investment, recreation and cultural programs, social services, and more. It is our most important planning tool and guides decisions and priorities for both the short and long term. With input from various stakeholders, the 2019 budget allows us to maintain and enhance service levels for today, as well as plan and prepare for growth in the future.”
The Town of Whitecourt publishes an annual budget report to help increase local understanding of projects and initiatives planned for the year, and residents’ knowledge of where municipal tax dollars are spent.
The report will be available on www.whitecourt.ca and municipal social media sites at the beginning of May after the Tax Rate Bylaw has been adopted by Town Council.