The Town of Eckville 2017 Budget was presented to Town Council on December 12, 2016.
Luckily for taxpayers – property taxes and utility rates have not been altered for the 2017 year. This is a welcome surprise considering that many municipalities in Alberta have been forced to increase both taxations due to the current Alberta economy and in the case of Sylvan Lake – lower then expected growth numbers.
Highlights of the 2017 Budget include:
- The Town will maintain 2016 staffing levels outside of a need Economic Development Officer for January-May 2017
- The Town staff wage grids will increase by 1 per cent, something Council has previously described as a market adjustment
- Town Staff benefits have been adjusted to reflect suggested 2017 rates
- Revenues and expenditures were reviewed and adjusted to include estimated 2017 rates
- A balanced $3,484,206.82 budget which includes a $48,000 transfer from the Tax Stabilization Reserve, meaning there will be no property tax increase
- There will be 27 Operating and Capital Projects for 2017 at a cost of $939,000
- School requisition remains unchanged for 2017 budget
- Seniors Foundation requisition remains unchanged for 2017 Budget
While the 2017 budget includes no planned property tax increase or utility rate increase, the Town does expect to perform a Utility Rate review sometime in 2017. The Town of Eckville currently has one of the lowest property and utility rates in Central Alberta.
The Town identified key budget revenue and expenditure variances for 2017.
- Franchise revenue decreased by $10,000
- Council revenue increased $10,000, with funds from MSI operating funds used to cover the cost of the Town’s iPads
- General Government revenue increased $8,500, with MSI covering GSI costs
- Bulk water revenue decreased $10,000
- Budgeted for additional lot sale in 2017
- Arena wage and benefit recovery increased by $25,000
- Council expenditures increased $10,000 to cover new iPads
- General government costs increased to cover GIS costs
- Snow removal budget decreased by $10,000
- Economic Development budget increased by $16,000
- Recreation Director allocation increased by $10,0000
- Library Grant increased by $4,800
The total budget for 2017 is $3,484,206.82, down from the 2016 Budget of $4,494,772.19 – for a difference of $1,010,565.37 between fiscal years.
What is important to note here is that the Budget presented is a balanced one that currently doesn’t include the need for any further taxation then the 2016 levels. Any adjustments made to Town staff wages or benefits were made in accordance to estimates made based on current Albertan levels. The Town will conduct a utility rate review, which will conclude in the 2017 year – meaning that any changes to utility rates will have no affect on the 2017 Budget.
Council accepted the 2017 budget as presented the motion was made.