Wet summer helped water county budget

A wet summer last year that stymied some road projects led to Lacombe County posted a $3.1-million surplus on its $42.2-million 2008 budget.

A wet summer last year that stymied some road projects led to Lacombe County posted a $3.1-million surplus on its $42.2-million 2008 budget.

“I think we’re very fortunate that we can say we have an unallocated surplus,” said County Reeve Terry Engen.

The county found most of its savings in an unwelcome bout of weather that “basically shut down” road building for a couple of months, he said after Thursday’s council meeting.

The total public works budget came in about $5 million below the budget of $27.9 million. The bottom line was also helped by lower-than-anticipated asphalt costs because of falling oil prices. The county also managed to save about $450,000 in labour costs because of rain.

Tim Timmons, the county’s manager of operations, said most of the surplus will be put in a series of reserve accounts set up to ensure there is money available for high-priority issues.

County council voted on Thursday to put $1 million into a water and waste water fund. That money has been put aside to fund expansion of regional water and sewer systems out into the county.

Another $1 million has been earmarked for the recreation capital assistance reserve, which is used to fund park and playground projects within the county.

There will also be $500,000 transferred to a fund for a future project to build remote public works shops in the west and east ends of the county. Those shops will be set up to make it easier for the county to get to problem areas quickly.

The lake access reserve fund is getting $350,000. This money will be put aside to help pay for future boat launches or other access points on Sylvan, Gull and Buffalo Lakes.

The county is also putting some money aside to have cash on hand for developing a regional trail network. A new reserve fund has been established and kick-started with $250,000.

The 2008 surplus represents 7.4 per cent of the budget, said Timmons. In 2001, the surplus was $2.1 million, or just under seven per cent of the budget.

Timmons is not expecting 2009 to produce as big a surplus as last year.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

More than $25k raised for Red Deer firefighter who is recovering in hospital

‘I think the support he’s getting is because of the person he is’

Lacombe backs Blackfalds stormwater plan

Stormwater management plan will open up more land for development in Blackfalds

Two men facing charges in alleged abduction

RCMP issued alert for woman on Wednesday morning who was found safe later that day

Red Deer RCMP seek public assistance to identify suspect in indecent acts

Red Deer RCMP are looking for a man believed to be responsible… Continue reading

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store on first day

EDMONTON — She’s being called one smart cookie. As people lined up… Continue reading

New vacuum needed: Calgary family adopts three bonded St. Bernard buddies

EDMONTON — Three adult St. Bernards who couldn’t be separated because they’re… Continue reading

Film with Fan Bingbing, Bruce Willis cancelled after tax case

BEIJING — The director of “Air Strike,” featuring Chinese actress Fan Bingbing,… Continue reading

Michael Buble shuts down rumours of retirement from music

LOS ANGELES — Michael Buble is shutting down rumours that he’s going… Continue reading

After Canada legalizes pot, industry eyes rest of the world

MONTREAL — Cam Battley is a top executive at one of Canada’s… Continue reading

Facebook’s election ‘war room’ takes aim at fake information

MENLO PARK, Calif. — In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook’s expansive… Continue reading

Military to overhaul morale-boosting trips after review finds serious problems

OTTAWA — Canada’s top general is overhauling military morale-boosting tours after an… Continue reading

Police hand out a few hefty fines for allegedly violating Cannabis Act

The celebratory mood that marked the legalization of recreational cannabis lost a… Continue reading

Most Read