Turner Valley Council holds the line on budget for third consecutive year
Turner Valley 2020 Budget… At the Regular Meeting of Council held Monday, December 16, 2019, Council approved the 2020 Operating Budget in the amount of $5,700,140. This is a decrease of $86,831 from the 2019 Operating Budget. For the third year in a row, Council did not increase expenses. This decision follows Council’s adoption of the 2020 Capital Budget on November 4, 2019. Approval of the 2020 budget prior to the new year allows Council and administration to move forward with priority initiatives.
Administration presented Council the final draft of the operating budget which eliminated an initial deficit projection by $153,000 through cost-saving measures and a draw of $32,225 on the Tax Stabilization Reserve fund to cover the remaining deficit.
While key core services are not affected, Council agreed to Administration’s recommendation to eliminate the collection of plastics at the Recycle Centre as the market opportunities to sell the product are currently very limited and are not forecasted to improve soon. This will create efficiencies and reduce the facility operating hours to three days a week from the current five. Staff hours will be reduced to reflect this change. An estimated $21,000 in savings will be realized. The decision to adjust operating hours at the recycle centre is contingent on partner approval.
The Turner Valley budget represents the financial resources needed to support Council’s key strategic priorities and to provide core services. It is focused on creating efficiencies and streamlining operations in order to maintain service standards in all areas. Additionally, municipal partners will see continued financial support. These include the Sheep River Library, the Sheep River Regional Utility Corporation, Westend Regional Sewage Services Commission and the Foothills Regional Emergency Commission.
Mayor Barry Crane noted, “The budget process was extensive – Council and administration worked very hard to find cost savings without compromising the standard of service the residents expect.”
Mayor Crane and Council are proud of the many accomplishments achieved in 2019, which included improved transparency and community engagement through the establishment of two new committees, the Governance and Priorities Advisory Committee and the Finance Committee, along with expanded public communications through a refreshed website, increased social media presence and the initiation of administrative inquiries at Council meetings. Mayor Crane stated, “Despite the very challenging economic climate, Council and Administration managed to stay the course by keeping costs in check and sustaining service levels.”
Council sets the property tax bylaw in the spring of 2020, at which time other factors such as the school and seniors requisitions will be known, as well as the final property assessments, all of which have an impact on property taxes.
The 2020 Capital Budget was approved by Council on November 4, 2019 in the amount of $1,173,000. Most of the capital projects will be financed through municipal grants.