Red Deer County unveils 2018 budget

Red Deer County residents likely not to see tax increases but businesses could pay more

Red Deer County has doubled down on construction work to take advantage of recession-hit pricing.

The money set aside for roads, bridges and other capital projects is up sharply to $39.3 million, compared with just under $29 million this past year.

“The strategic intent is to take advantage of the lower prices to get some much needed paving, road construction and intersection improvements completed,” Heather Surkan, director of corporate services, told council.

Council unveiled its three-year operating and five-year capital budget plans on Tuesday. The budget will go to the public for feedback before coming back to council for approval on Dec. 19.

The proposed $47.5-million operating 2018 budget is in line with previous years.

Residential taxpayers whose assessment has not changed will not likely see any change in their tax bills and farmland tax rates remain unchanged. Non-residential taxpayers could see about a six per cent increase as the county compensates for lower tax revenues, mostly from the oil and gas sector.

Surkan called the county’s financial plan an “ambitious yet achievable budget.”

Mayor Jim Wood said the boosted capital spending is all about taking advantage of competitive pricing.

“Anytime that we can get work done at close to 50 cents on the dollar — that means twice as much work for the same money — it’s very prudent to do so.”

It is a game plan the county followed last year as well.

Wood said the county remains in a strong financial position.

“We are debt free and we have a huge reserve,” he said. “We build those reserves over time to take advantage of opportunities like we have right now.

“The economy is slow in Alberta. We know it will pick up and when it does pick up again we know our costs will rise.

“So, that’s why we’re showing more money being spent in 2018 than we are in 2019. and 2020.”

In 2019, capital spending is expected to fall back to more typical levels at $20.3 million, followed by $20.5 million in 2020.

While the county has seen savings on one front, the brunt of the recession is felt on other budget lines.

The slowdown in oilpatch activity took a toll on the amount of money the county receives in machinery and equipment and linear (pipelines, power and telecommunications lines etc.) taxes.

“On the commercial side, we have identified the need to replace lost revenue that we are having right now from our oil and gas sector,” said Wood.

“We have not noticed very many oil and gas wells drilled within the last number of years.”

Linear assessment shows the trend clearly. In 2013, the county had almost $1.1 billion of linear assessment. That is down to about $870 million this year and is projected to drop to a little over $600 million by 2020.

The county is also proposing a small increase to its recreation levy. Wood said it will have a “negligible” impact on tax bills but is needed to cover expected higher recreation contributions to neighbouring municipalities.

Key Red Deer County initiatives for 2018 and beyond:

• Bridge repairs $4.1M (2018); 5 year average – $4.4 million

•Range Road 10 construction and overlay – $7.1 million

• Township Road 360 Paving – $3.4 million

• Township Road 370 East construction – $4.7 million (2018); West – $3.5 million (2019); West – $7.5 million


• Range Road 224 – $1.4 million

• Transit and bus shelters – $850,000

• Springbrook Water Treatment Plant and reservoir replacement – $4.2 million

• Old Hwy 21 overlay – $4.9 million

• Township Road 354 rebuild & base pave – $8.3 million

• Range Road 272 rebuild – $3.4 million

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

budgetRed Deer County

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

Just Posted

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 9, 2020 in Ottawa. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be joining European Union leaders for a virtual summit, where they are expected to discuss their shared commitment to international co-operation and what that means ahead of Tuesday’s U.S presidential election. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, EU leaders meet ahead of U.S. election to reinforce support of world order

Trudeau speaking with the European Union’s two top political leaders

The Hub on Ross has announced it has permanently closed. (Photo courtesy The Hub on Ross Facebook page)
The Hub on Ross in Red Deer to permanently close

The Hub on Ross in Red Deer permanently closed on Wednesday. “The… Continue reading

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Email letters to
Gift of groceries leaves couple ‘speechless’

Red Deer has got to be the No. 1 place in Alberta.… Continue reading

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a daycare in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. Alberta Children’s Services Minister Rebecca Schulz says the province plans to bring in a new way of licensing and monitoring child-care facilities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Alberta proposes legislation to change rules on child-care spaces

Record-keeping, traditionally done on paper, would be allowed digitally

Matt Berger is shown skateboarding in Huntington Beach California in this July 10, 2020 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Monster Energy, Joey Shigeo Muellner
Canadian skateboarder Matt Berger awaits his sport’s Olympic debut

Berger ranked No. 1 in Canada and 17th in the world

Sergio Santos, right, of the Philadelphia Union, loses the race to the ball against goalie Quentin Westberg of Toronto FC during the first half of an MLS match Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Chester, Pa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charles Fox/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP
Frustrated coach Greg Vanney defends banged-up Toronto FC after second straight loss

Frustrated coach Greg Vanney defends banged-up Toronto FC after second straight loss

Most Read