At the regular Nov. 28, meeting, City of Wetaskiwin Council approved the 2023 municipal budget with an overall increase of 5.7 per cent.
In 2023 the operating and capital budgets total $43,439,950.
The city’s operating budget which covers costs for programs and services including maintenance of roads and facilities, parks, police and fire services, comes in at $39,195,510.
The capital budget was approved at $4,244,440. This will cover new purchasing, construction, and replacement of assets including roads, neighbourhood and alley renewal and facilities.
Based on the 5.7 per cent adjustment, for every $100,000 of assessment residential property owners will see an increase of approximately $4.58 per month or $54.84 annually. For non-residential properties the estimated increase is about $9.13 per month or $109.58 annually.
“During an incredibly difficult budget deliberation, council was able to make good decisions based on the feedback we heard from those who attended the public budget consultations,” said Mayor Tyler Gandam.
Ahead of the budget approval, city council participated in two public engagement sessions on Nov. 2, and Nov. 4. Community members were able to share their thoughts on the proposed budget at that time with a focus on the topics of economy, environment, safety and community.
Council followed these sessions with three day of public budget deliberations at Wetaskiwin City Hall from Nov. 7 to 9.
“Public engagement is a vital part of the work we do, so it’s also important to note that all council meetings are open to the public, including budget deliberations, and that we welcome your input and feedback anytime throughout the year.”
The city states that a priority-based budgeting approach was used to help determine funding allocation for capital projects and services.
They also say that inflation played a significant role in the development of the 2023 budget.
The budget was developed with a focus on continuing to provide services to the community while accounting for rising costs of living and global inflation.
The city’s tax supporting operating budget has not been increasing with the line of inflation rather over the past five years the rate of inflation has outpaced the city’s tax rate change. The net overall change in the tax rate from 2018 to 2022 was 4.07 per cent while inflation grew 16.8 per cent.
“Administration is optimistic that the approved budget will meet the community and infrastructure needs,” said city manager Sue Howard.
“The budget was deeply affected by several factors out of the city’s control but this budget will allow the city to continue to provide for the services the community expects.”