Budget reflects strategic plan

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County Reeve Tyler Airth says the 2024 operating and capital budgets reflect council’s priorities.

At a special budget meeting April 17, council approved an operating budget of $36,481,796 in expenses and $38,920,495 in operating revenue.

“The 2024 budget was presented to reflect our current strategic plan while administration maintains the current level of service council has approved,” Airth says.

“With this budget being in alignment with our process to create more transparency and accountability, we are excited to be able to provide more clear information as to where dollars are being allocated as shown in our reserve contributions, for example.”

Council further adopted a capital budget of $11,201,211.

“We are happy to see some of the major capital projects comes to fruition this year,” Airth says.

“One of the highlights is that we a beginning massive rehabilitation on the bridge crossing the West Prairie River on Township Rd. 740, more commonly known at Gilwood Rd.”

It will extend the life of the bridge on the road that gets a high volume of truck traffic, he says.

The budgets were carefully prepared, says Joey Sutton, director of finance.

“Administration presented the budget with balance at the forefront, balancing both the need to maintain affordability while also planning for the future and continuing to provide the best possible services for our resident,” Sutton says.

“(Big Lakes County) administration stands with council in being as fiscally responsible as possible, bringing the most value and making the county and attractive place to live,” Sutton says.

The operating budget reflects a 2.5 per cent tax increase and a 2.5 per cent increase for the cost of living allowance (COLA) for staff and grid step increases.

In the budget, the County will repay the principal on long-term debt in the amount of $547,350, contribute $1,507,500 to capital reserves and $1,891,349 to operating reserves.

After the operating budget, council passed a subsequent motion to withdraw $4,988,758 from reserves for capital project work.

Council further adopted a capital budget of $11,201,211.

“The capital program reflects new projects, maintenance of existing infrastructure and/or completion of projects underway in 2023,” Sutton says.

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