Town council approves 2015 budget

The Town of Sylvan Lake’s 2015 operating and capital budgets were given final approval by council Monday night

The Town of Sylvan Lake’s 2015 operating and capital budgets were given final approval by council Monday night, along with a three-per-cent residential tax rate increase.

Operating and capital budgets were approved at $32,058,646 and $41,268,000, respectively.

Mayor Sean McIntyre said the budget has been discussed extensively not just among town councillors, but also in the public forum. Most feedback received has been positive, he said, but admitted there have been questions about increases to utility rates.

The water monthly flat rate is increasing by $7, from $15.91 to $22.91, while waste-water monthly flat rate is increasing by $3, from $13.33 to 16.33.

Waste will see a $1.93 increase to curb-side recycling for a $6.10 monthly rate; a $0.50 increase to commercial cardboard recycling for a $7 monthly rate; and a $4.33 increase to solid waste (garbage/yard/kitchen) for a $17.50 monthly rate.

First reading to both utility rate bylaws was given at Monday’s regular meeting.

All increases are necessary to fund important infrastructure upgrades. Once people learn that, they typically become more accepting to the increases, McIntyre explained.

Town communications officer Joanne Gaudet said all money generated through utility rates funds utility-based initiatives, required mainly as a result of aging infrastructure.

“We’ve got aging infrastructure, specifically related to water and waste-water,” she said. “Property taxes do not pay for these initiatives.”

Costly community-wide initiatives and projects include sanitary lift upgrades, sanitary main extensions, water well and reservoir work, and various replacement programs.

Storm replacement in certain areas of the community also come at a hefty price, said Gaudet, adding some residents have been troubled by the increases as a result of such upgrades.

“Unfortunately, there’s nothing tangible at the end of the day for a result,” she said. “People like to see a new sidewalk or they like to see a new park, and this is all stuff you can’t see. There’s nothing flashy about it.”

The upgrades aren’t just necessary, she added; they’re vital in order for the Town to continue providing clean potable water to its residents.

Utility rates alone aren’t enough to cover the cost of related projects, said Gaudet. Offsite levies generated through new development also contribute.

McIntyre said there’s been some confusion about where money generated through utility rates ends up, with some residents not knowing it funds utility-based initiatives.

Coun. Dale Plante felt including images of aging and rotting underground pipes with rate-related correspondence may have helped residents understand the need for such upgrades.

“These (increases) are not for profit,” he said. “All we’re doing is covering our cost here. Nobody likes increase, but we’re well within where we should be.”

Coun. Jas Payne agreed, noting he has a friend in another Alberta community who pays much higher rates there than in Sylvan Lake.

During council’s Monday night regular meeting, councillors also approved 2016 and 2017 budget plans.

 

 

Just Posted

Canada’s Gospel Music Celebration arrives July 12-14

Several bands to be featured at the popular annual event

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

Court full as schools, parents dispute Alberta gay-straight alliance law

Justice Centre argues keeping parents out of the loop violates freedom of religion and expression

Photo: HJ Cody girls soccer team participates in tournament

The soccer team played in the Central Alberta High School Soccer League Year End Tournament

Drafts of the waterfront area presented to the public.

The Town of Sylvan Lake presented drafts of the waterfront area on June 14

In reversal, Trump signs executive order to stop family separation

President had been wrongly insisting he had no choice but to separate families apprehended at border

A look at what Canadian teams might do in the 1st round of the NHL draft

Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Edmonton in top 10 of upcoming draft

Koko, the gorilla who knew sign language, dies at 46

Western lowland gorilla, 46, died in her sleep in California

Clearview and Wolf Creek school boards sign historic agreement

Partnership will help 2,000 high school students

Trudeau says he can’t imagine Trump damaging U.S. by imposing auto tariffs

New tariffs on Canadian autos entering the U.S. would amount to a self-inflicted wound on the U.S. economy

B.C. inmate gets 2 years in prison for assault on guard

Union rep said inmate sucker punched correctional officer, continued assault after officer fell

Temperature records broken across B.C., again

The first heat wave of the season went out with a bang across the province

Canada’s first national accessibility law tabled in Ottawa

The introduction of the Accessible Canada Act marked a key step towards greater inclusion

Police chief calls for mass casualty plan in Saskatchewan after Broncos crash

Former Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill said the office was tasked with creating such a plan 13 years ago but none exists

Most Read