Sylvan Lake released its proposed 2018-2020 budget the morning of Nov. 28. The draft budget is available for viewing online at the Town website, or a hard copy can be viewed in person at the Municipal Government Building or at the library.
After three budget deliberation sessions, where budgetary presentations were given to Council, Council and administration have drafted together a draft of the budget for the upcoming year.
Included in this draft is a “combined 1.97 per cent municipal tax rate increase for residential and non-residential properties.” According to a report presented to Council, approximately two-thirds of the property tax is in the municipal portion of taxes, with the remaining one-third being educational taxes the municipality collects on behalf on the Province.
Along with the municipal tax rate, Council is also projecting an increase in the utility rates. As previously reported, the flat water rates will increase to $3 a month, wastewater will increase to $2 a month as well. The consumption rate for wastewater will also increase with the 2018 budget, going up to $2.50 per cubic metre.
The Recreation Levy will remain the same for the proposed budget, as will the Transportation Levy. However the Transportation Levy is proposed to increase in both 2019 and 2020.
Included in the budgeting for 2018, there will be a cost increase for the Sylvan Lake RCMP. This is due to a new contract settled with RCMP members earlier in the year. Council has budgeted $250,000 for 2018, with a projected 1.5 per cent increase for 2019. The RCMP will maintain its current member strength at 16 members for the 2018-2020 budget plan.
Council projects the revenue from natural gas and electricity franchise fees to be lower in 2018, due to slow growth. The revenue brought in from the franchise fee is transferred to a reserve for “future capital”. This averages over $1 million over three years to maintain a constant amount, which subsidizes the operating budget each year.
The 2018-2020 Financial Plan has no operating contingency for 2018. For 2019, a operating contingency of $100,000 is planned, and $150,000 planned for 2020.
Council deferred the remaining NexSource project funding of $500,000 to 2020. The NexSource budget includes $2 million from taxation over the course of four years beginning in 2015.
There will be a open house for the draft budget on Dec. 12 at the NexSource Centre from 4:30-7 p.m. Staff members and councillors will be available during the open house to answer questions about the drafted budget.
The budget will not be made final until the new year.