Red Deer County ratepayers to get tax break

Red Deer County ratepayers to get tax break

Red Deer County hopes to freeze municipal taxes for the next three years

By PAUL COWLEY

Advocate staff

Red Deer County hopes to hold the line on tax rate increases for the next three years.

A three-year draft budget that went before council on Tuesday calls for no municipal tax rate hikes through the 2017 to 2019 budgets barring significant financial changes.

The 2017 operating budget is projected at $45.6 million, $45.9 million in 2018 and $45.2 million in 2019. Capital budgets are projected at $26.4 million, $16.7 million and $20.4 million.

County corporate service director Heather Gray-Surkan called it an “achievable and fair budget,” in her presentation to council.

It manages to maintain existing service levels without resorting to tax increases. Pay for council and nearly 90 staff will be frozen for next year as a cost-saving measure.

Deputy Mayor Christine Moore said council was determined to bring in a budget that did not put additional tax burden on residents.

“We believe it was the time to do that without compromising our services,”said Moore.

“I think we’re bearing in mind the current reality. We’re very cognizant of our taxpayers’ challenges right now, residential, commercial and industrial.”

By adopting a multi-year budget, as many municipalities are doing these days, has been helpful.

“With our three-year budget plan, we know what’s coming,” she said. “I think the budget reflects the county’s strategic plan for the future.

“Our diversification is helping us with our tax base. It’s given us some assurances as we continue to develop, especially in Gasoline Alley.”

Council was warned by staff that there are some financial challenges ahead and some unknowns.

For instance, the value of all county property assessments won’t be known until next spring. If they are much lower than projected, council will have to decide whether to raise taxes or cover the shortfall out of reserves.

How much can be expected in provincial grants is also based on estimates after speaking with provincial staff.

The county is also coping with declining revenues from linear taxation, taxes on pipelines, power lines and similar infrastructure. Those revenues are expected to fall $1.2 million in 2017, $2.8 million in 2018 and $3.8 million in 2019.

The budget focuses on maintaining key infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water lines and reservoirs.

Next year, $3.3 million will be spent on bridge repairs, and the construction of two roundabouts and improvements to Laura and Waskasoo Avenues in Gasoline Alley will cost $7 million.

The budget will come back to council for approval on Dec. 6.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

Students walk into Hunting Hills High School, which is one of the Red Deer Public Schools with solar panels on its roof. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)
Red Deer high school was placed in lockdown following potential threat

Hunting Hills High School was placed in a lockdown Friday after Red… Continue reading

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some details of the provincial government’s 2021-22 budget need to be ‘sorted out’ when it comes to the hospital expansion funding. (File photo by Advocate staff)
More detail needed regarding hospital funding, says Red Deer mayor

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some information is unclear regarding the… Continue reading

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Nicole Buchanan, chair of Red Deer Public Schools board, says it’s too soon to say how the provincial government’s 2021-22 will impact the district. (Contributed file photo)
Red Deer school boards react to provincial budget

It’s still too soon to say how the latest provincial budget will… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

A worker carrying a disinfectant sprayer walks past a WestJet Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft, after cleaning another plane at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
WestJet to lay off undisclosed number of pilots amid labour negotiations

WestJet to lay off undisclosed number of pilots amid labour negotiations

The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
British Columbia’s Site C dam to cost $16 billion, delayed until 2025

British Columbia’s Site C dam to cost $16 billion, delayed until 2025

Mark Machin, President and CEO of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, speaks at a seminar on building a sustainable social security system in Beijing, China on Monday, Feb.20, 2017. Machin has resigned after admitting he was vaccinated for COVID-19 abroad. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canada Pension Plan Investment Board MANDATORY CREDIT
CPP Investments CEO Mark Machin resigns after travelling to UAE for COVID-19 vaccine

CPP Investments CEO Mark Machin resigns after travelling to UAE for COVID-19 vaccine

Selina Robinson listens to Premier John Horgan in Coquitlam, B.C., Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. Robinson, B.C's finance minister, says she's encouraged by predictions that British Columbia's economy will rebound this year and next. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Economists predict slight rebound and moderate growth for B.C. economy in 2021

Economists predict slight rebound and moderate growth for B.C. economy in 2021

A street sign along Bay Street in Toronto's financial district is shown on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
S&P/TSX composite falls as commodities, financials struggle

S&P/TSX composite falls as commodities, financials struggle

This image released by Briarcliff Entertainment shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, with journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a scene from the documentary "The Dissident." (Briarcliff Entertainment via AP)
US implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist’s killing

US implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist’s killing

This image released by Amazon Studios shows Maria Bakalova, left, and Sacha Baron Cohen in a scene from "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm." The film was nominated for a Golden Globe for best musical/comedy.(Amazon Studios via AP)
Breakout ‘Borat’ star Maria Bakalova conquers Hollywood

Breakout ‘Borat’ star Maria Bakalova conquers Hollywood

Doctors, caregivers push for in-home COVID-19 vaccinations for housebound seniors

Doctors, caregivers push for in-home COVID-19 vaccinations for housebound seniors

Most Read