On March 28, 2022, after four days of deliberations, two virtual open houses, and an online public consultation, Wetaskiwin City Council approved the 2022 Municipal Operating and Capital Budgets.
The city states that in order to provide an adequate level of service to Wetaskiwin citizens during a period of rising costs and minimal growth in assessment, council approved a tax increase of 3.99 per cent for 2022.
“Council’s commitment to running as efficiently as possible while still providing a good level of service was the focus of 2022’s budget deliberations,” said Mayor Tyler Gandam.
“Increases to costs outside of our control were a big part of this year’s increase to the tax rate.”
The municipality continues to face challenges from costs downloaded by the provincial and federal governments.
The city says that these downloaded costs accounted for 3.47 per cent or $555,960, of the total increase, which will require additional spending in the following areas:
• Increased pay for RCMP members due to contract negotiations for member remuneration resulted in a $466,860 increase in the 2022 budget for the city’s RCMP contract.
• Increased annual cost of $35,100 due to the provincial government’s implementation of a chargeback model for the provincial portion of the Biology Casework Analysis Agreements (BCAA).
• Reduction in Grants in Place of Taxes from the Government of Alberta which assists municipalities in the cost of providing municipal services. This will cost the city $54,000 for 2022.
City Council also approved an additional 0.52 per cent of the increase to balance the 2022 operating budget. They say this will benefit citizens as preventative maintenance projects can continue and will extend the useful life of Wetaskiwin infrastructure.
From the more than $5.5 million approved in the capital budget, the city has allocated $1.8 million to items that require immediate assistance in many of the city’s facilities. These items were identified by the Facilities Assessment Report that was completed by Associated Engineering in 2019.
The remaining $3.7 million allocated funds will be used for:
• Roadway reconstruction;
• Asphalt overlays;
• Line marking;
• Sidewalk rehabilitation and connector projects;
• Boulevard rehabilitation;
• And Alberta First Responders Radio Communications.