Whitecourt Town Council this week approved the 2020 Interim Operating and Capital Budget.
The $52 million budget requires a 0% overall tax change, as Council and Administration worked to find cost efficiencies and reduce spending.
The Capital Budget highlights include:
-The 2020 Street Improvement Program, which includes street, lighting, and sidewalk repairs at locations throughout the community.
-The Water System Upgrade Project construction, which is anticipated to begin in 2020 with funding support from the Build Canada Program and the Alberta Community Partnership Program. The upgrades include a dedicated supply main and other system upgrades, including pressure-reducing measures to improve the distribution network and fire flows.
-The construction of Festival Way at Rotary Park is set for Spring, 2020 with funding support from the Enabling Accessibility Fund and sponsorship from the Rotary Club of Whitecourt. Festival Way will provide the base for future cultural and family entertainment options in the community and will enhance Rotary Park through the creation of a corridor for pedestrian traffic through the park with spaces for community groups to set up a tent/displays with power services and pathway lighting.
The Operating Budget highlights include:
-Continuing the Odour Control Program at the Wastewater Treatment Plant (chemical treatment, permitting of haulers, etc.) until future system upgrades are complete.
-Continued collaboration and development of new agreements with Woodlands County for services that benefit residents of both municipalities
-Creation of a Geographic Information System (GIS) that will be completed in the spring of 2020 and will centralize the Town’s datasets and allow for better use and analysis of the information.
-Completion of the Regional Business Park Feasibility Study in partnership with Woodlands County to identify current and future industry needs in the region.
-Create recommendations based on the Flood Mitigation Plan for future flood mitigation enhancements, funding strategies, education programs, and projects that will improve community flood planning and mitigate potential flood damage.
-Development of a Sports Hosting Partnership Program to support and grow the economic impact that is experienced through hosting sporting activities in the community.
Mayor Maryann Chichak says this year’s budget was overall a “hold-the-line” budget due to the hard economic times, but there are still some uncertainties leading up to final approval in the Spring.
The Town will hold a budget open house in February for residents to learn more about the budget details.