Clearwater County council approved its $32.4 million operating and $20.6 million capital budgets on Monday. There is no word yet on tax rate increases because the municipality must wait for the province to assess the amount of taxes the county will receive for the thousands of miles of pipelines and other linear infrastructure within its borders.
“The linear tax is a big part of our assessment revenue. That assessment is done by the province and we don’t get those numbers until the end of February and the first part of March,” said Reeve Pat Alexander.
When all the numbers are crunched, he anticipates a “slight” tax rate increase will be required to keep pace with inflation.
The bottom line has been helped by an anticipated $800,000 boost in revenues from oil well taxes, which are now expected to generate about $2 million for the municipality.
Among major expenses this year is $2.6 million to repair infrastructure damaged by last June’s flooding. A provincial grant will cover $2 million of that. A number of new initiatives have been included in the 2014 budget.
An additional $250,000 has been put into the dust control budget and $250,000 has been put into the grader budget to boost service levels. The budget also calls for rehabilitation of about 30 km of gravel roads and asphalt overlays will go on another 25 km. Other expenses include $1.275 million to go towards renovations at the arena in Rocky Mountain House, which is expected to begin in April.