Council passes 2012 budget
After months of planning, delays, and public consultations, Lac La Biche County Council recently passed the 2012 operating and capital budgets worth more than $96 million.
The budget didn’t include mill rate increases for residential property owners, but increases in property assessment in the county is expected to bring in an additional 2.6 to 4.8 per cent of tax money into county coffers. The same increase in assessments is expected to push local business taxes up by two to three percent. County documents say the tax increases are from “increased property values and school tax increases passed on from Alberta Education.”
At council’s meeting this week, new bylaws will finalize the residential mill rate as well as the new industrial mill rate. The industrial rate is expected to be increased. The new industrial rate will affect only large-scale industrial users in the municipality and not the majority of smaller businesses.
DEFICIT CAPITAL EXPENSES
The 2012 operating budget, which is used to pay county employees and deliver services, has $49,828,052.07 in revenue and $43,346,169.20 in expenses – which makes for a surplus of $6,481,882.87.
The capital budget, which covers infrastructure, projects, and assets, is valued at $46,532,053.77 with spending pegged at $50,545,492.38 – a deficit of $4,013,438.61.
The budget report states that “capital spending will increase due to withdrawals from County reserve balances and the $14 million one-time grant from the Province of Alberta in lieu of the creation of Improvement District 349 (Cold Lake Air Weapons Range).”
County reports say the loss of the Air Weapons Range caused “uncertainty” for Lac La Biche County’s municipal tax revenue. There will be $6,236,000 less tax revenue for Lac La Biche County in 2012 due to the loss of the Air Weapons Range. The Province of Alberta is providing $5 million to cover the deficit.
TAX BYLAWS TUESDAY
Council is looking at using the split mill rate tool – given to the municipality in the Air Weapons Range Deal and allows them to tax industrial and regular commercial businesses at different rates – to make up the rest of the difference.
Council is scheduled to vote on the final split mill rate at a meeting May 8.
The release of the budget was subject to multiple delays caused by reported “deficiencies” in the county accounts, originally reported late last year.
County spokesperson Shadia Amblie said she expects to have complete budget documents available to the public in the near future.
SOME PROJECTS FOR 2012
$85,000 for the Bold Center “View Point Room.”
$50,000 for SCUBA equipment.
$100,000 for animal shelter construction.
$10,226,729 for the BNR Wastewater Treatment Plant.
$494,000 for storm water ceptor.
$5,678,144 for the Caslan Connector road.
$463,576 for Beaverhill Road engineering work.
$896,610 for curb, gutter, and sidewalk replacement for Plamondon and Lac La Biche.
$375,000 for McArthur Place renovations.
$2,917,999 for transfer stations/landfill transitional plan.
$179,601 for curbside garbage carts.
$42,000 for recycling bins.
$6,002,500 for bridging to new high school.
$80,000 for Bold Center Devon Room acoustics.
$500,000 for Big Dock project.
$50,000 for walking trail expansions, Young’s Beach and Holowachuk Estates.
DEFERRED PROJECTS TO BE LOOKED AT
$60,677 for unmarked emergency response vehicle.
$349,000 for pumper truck for Plamondon Fire Department.
$1,271,411.80 for water -sewer line replacement on 101 Ave.
$568,260 for addition to Beaverhill Road water treatment plant for Portage College.
$3,991,470 for Egg Lake Road.
$507,560 for golf course maintenance project.
SOME 2012 OPERATING COSTS
$277,699.29 for communications department.
$976,766.91 for grants to community groups.
$3,062,067 for Bold Center expenditures, operations, and maintenance ($1,070,000 in revenues).
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