Leduc County council recently approved its 2016 budget; it is a slight increase from 2015 and results in a tax increase for about 85 per cent of the county’s residents.
Of those affected, 80 per cent of landowners can expect an increase of less than $100 and for the other five per cent it will be between $101 and $250.
“The marginal property tax increase ensures the level of service provided to landowners is maintained,” says Renee Klimosko, director of finance.
Council approved an $83.4 million operating budget and $38.5 million capital budget, which represents a total tax dollar budget increase of approximately 1.37 per cent over 2015.
The capital budget includes $9.9 million for the annual road surfacing program, $4.9 million for a building expansion, $2.4 million for capital equipment purchases for protective services, and $1.2 million for bridge rehabilitation.
Within the operating budget: $22.5 million is for requisitions from the Alberta School Foundation Fund and Leduc Foundation, $18.8 million for Public Works and Engineering — including $4.2 million contribution for cost-share agreements relating to road projects— $3.3 million is earmarked for the annual gravelling program, $7.1 million for protective services and $1.7 million going to agricultural services.
“We were challenged to hold the line on spending and find efficiencies in these uncertain economic times. We approved modest, fiscally responsible increases to ensure we can continue providing residents and business owners with high-quality municipal services,” stated Mayor John Whaley in a press release.
Whaley, Klimosko and Rob Ballhorn, director of assessment, agree that, with the state of Alberta’s economy, Leduc County wanted to ensure the fiscally responsible budget did not negatively impact service levels.
Council employed a budget process that began in June 2015, allowing established guidelines as well as development of departmental priorities to lead council and administration to work together and ensure the 2016 budget could support adequate service levels.
Like other counties within the province, Leduc saw a decrease in its linear assessment class. Linear assessments includes oil and gas wells, pipelines, electrical power distribution and transmission and telecommunication facilities.
The county saw a 2.5 per cent decrease from $582 million to $568 million; which would have been worse had it not been for the expansion of electrical power distribution and transmission within the county, says Ballhorn.