Red Deer County budget keeps costs in line

Most Red Deer County ratepayers can expect little or no property tax increases on next year’s bills.

Most Red Deer County ratepayers can expect little or no property tax increases on next year’s bills.

County Mayor Earl Kinsella said while the final number crunching can’t take place until assessments are tallied and the province makes it requisition for school taxes, the $31.6-million operating budget is in good shape.

“As far as actual tax dollars we don’t expect to see, from a county point of view, any significant increase overall,” said Kinsella.

“I would say maybe the greatest accomplishment of this council and our administration was to keep costs in line and to (meet) at least a majority of the wants, at least the reasonable wants, and the needs of the community.”

Kinsella said the county’s strategy has been to put money aside in reserves when building costs were high. This year, a lot of that money was tapped when prices dropped. At the same time, the county took advantage of various federal and provincial funding programs.

“We’ve done an awful lot of good work on capital (projects), especially on roads and so on.

This spring, the municipality rolled out a massive $8-million road paving program and accelerated a 10-year asphalt maintenance program by eight years. Contractors put asphalt overlay on 70 km of roads.

The county’s strategy is reflected in its capital budget, which soared to $38.4 million this year, but will drop to the more usual range of $9.6 million in 2010. Projects include $3.2 million worth of road work, $1.6 million for bridges and $2 million for a reservoir in Benalto.

Councillor Reimar Poth said 2009 showed the importance of putting money aside in reserves.

“We took advantage of some big savings, construction savings. The only way we were able to do that was to have that savings account.”

Councillor David Hoar said the county may be cutting back on its capital projects but is still committed to fixing up infrastructure.

“We’re still making massive advances on what we might call an infrastructure deficit within the county.”

Councillor Jim Wood called it a “very responsible budget. To be able to say we’re not going to have tax increases is very, very important.”

The county plans to roll out a number of new initiatives next year:

• $150,0000 contribution towards a de-icing facility at Red Deer Regional Airport

• $111,0000 will be spent on a $300-per-kilometre fund to support drainage projects on•126 km of county ditches

• $100,000 to reclaim the former Kevisville waste transfer site

• $100,000 contribution to help build the Penhold Multiplex

• $100,000 to do a Pine Lake Area Structure Plan

• $74,000 for various weed programs, including a project to hit roadside and fence line areas

• $65,000 to post yield or stop signs on 115 unmarked intersections.

Just Posted

PHOTO: Rainbow Block Party at Red Deer’s West Park

The Trans and Non-Binary Aid Society hosted a Rainbow Block Party at… Continue reading

Blood donations needed in Central Alberta: Canadian Blood Services

357 donors are needed before Aug. 26 at the Red Deer clinic

WATCH: Annual Family Picnic at Central Spray and Play

Blue Grass Sod Farms Ltd. held the Annual Family Picnic at the… Continue reading

Photos: Smoky conditions in Red Deer

Red Deer and area is experiencing high risk air quality.See related: Red… Continue reading

Committee to decide how millions in Humboldt Broncos donations are split

SASKATOON — Lawyers for the families of some of those who died… Continue reading

Boy, 11, dies after being struck by payloader on southern Alberta ranch

BOW ISLAND, Alta. — A boy has died after an accident on… Continue reading

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government wants to establish a holiday to… Continue reading

Thousands of police officers expected at regimental funeral in Fredericton

FREDERICTON — Thousands of police officers and first responders from across the… Continue reading

B.C. declares state of emergency over wildfires

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government has declared a provincial state of… Continue reading

As service refusals make headlines, experts say businesses usually in the wrong

Two Canadian businesses that recently made headlines for refusing customers have learned… Continue reading

Irregular asylum claims increased in July after two months of decline

OTTAWA — The number of irregular border crossers in Canada went up… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month