Red Deer County’s budget tabled for public input

Red Deer County’s 2013 budget will be open for public input, after councillors unanimously tabled the proposed budget

Red Deer County’s 2013 budget will be open for public input, after councillors unanimously tabled the proposed budget during their Dec. 4 meeting.

Next year’s proposed capital spending, which includes infrastructure and protective services, will total slightly more than $26 million, a significant drop from last year’s expenses of more than $42 million.

According to a Red Deer County press release, the change can be attributed to the amount of work completed in 2012, with several projects held over from 2011 due to bad weather. Over $15 million will be spent on road-related projects in 2013.

Tax revenue will increase by $1.2 million, a figure Heather Gray, Red Deer County’s director of corporate services, said is in line with inflation.

“I would not expect to see anything above the rate of inflation,” said Mayor Jim Wood. “We do recognize that as time goes, everything costs a little more.”

The rise in tax revenue reflects increased municipal service costs, said Gray. The Environmental, Protective Services, and Community Services levy rates will all remain the same. In total, next year’s proposed operating budget is set slightly above $39 million.

According to Gray, almost every county department came in under budget in 2012.

“The only exception is a $1 million expense to remediate out of service landfills. In 2013, ratepayers can look forward to increased service levels in mowing, culvert replacement, centre line approaches, and water and sewer system maintenance,” Gray was quoted in a press release.

After the public hearing, the budget will go before council at its Dec. 18 meeting for approval.

“Council is very pleased to approve a budget that includes this level of work,” Wood was quoted in a press release. “We are taking on some major projects, yet we remain committed to maintaining current service levels. Now we would like to hear from the public to ensure we are capturing their views.”