Press Releases

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 / Categories: Press Releases

Press Release - Whitecourt approves 2018 Interim Budget

Whitecourt Town Council has approved the 2018 Interim Operating and Capital Budget.   The Interim Budget includes over $53.8 million of capital and operating expenditures and requires a 2.82% overall tax change.

“As our community grows, we are challenged to present an Interim Budget that not only maintains existing service levels but also includes impacts of our current economy and cost of living,” stated Mayor Maryann Chichak.  “While the outlook for 2018 is promising, Whitecourt Town Council prepared this budget knowing that there is still volatility in our economy that could impact local industry and our residents.  This Interim Budget not only meets our needs today, but sets our municipality up for success in the long term.”

The passing of the Interim Budget allows projects to proceed before the 2018 Budget is given final approval. The 2018 Budget will be finalized in the spring of 2018 once the Provincial budget is adopted, and final assessment figures are established. 

“The provincial and federal budgets could significantly impact our operations, and that is why our budget numbers and projects could be adjusted between now and April,” added Mayor Chichak.  “We will also be hosting our annual public open house on the proposed budget early in the new year, which I hope to see a high level of engagement from our citizens.   This document significantly influences the lives of our residents and the opportunities and services they are provided, and I look forward to hearing their input and comments.”

Capital Budget Highlights:

  • The 2018 Street Improvement Program includes street, stairs, lighting, and sidewalk repairs at locations throughout the community.

  • Completion of the Athabasca River Erosion Control Spurs project. 

  • Construction will begin in early 2018 for the Water System Upgrade Project, which includes a second utility river crossing to west Whitecourt, a dedicated supply main and pump upgrades, pressure reducing station and other system upgrades.

  • Wide Area Network improvements that will support better connectivity between Town facilities, and enhance the residents’ online e-commerce registration options.

  • Continuation of preliminary engineering and grit testing for the upgrades at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.  Options will continue to be researched to reduce the amount of inert materials entering the treatment system.

  • Recreation will continue with ongoing maintenance for all public facilities including: energy enhancement projects at the Allan & Jean Millar Centre and Scott Safety Centre; resurfacing of the Southlands outdoor rink; and playground enhancements and replacement of the Pine Park neighbourhood playground.

  • Implementation of a trail sign project which will include design and installation of new signs for trails and staging areas throughout our local trail system.

  • Purchase of a third bus that will join the fleet in the summer of 2018 to ensure this essential service has minimal downtime.

  • Completion of the Downtown Fortis Streetlight Project which will replace existing wooden poles with decorative Domus lights in parts of downtown.

 

Operating Budget Highlights:

  • Continue with the Odour Control Program at the Wastewater Treatment Plant (chemical treatment, permitting of haulers, etc.) until future system upgrades are complete.

  • Launch of a mobile app for Public Transit service.

  • A new Utility Bylaw will be presented in early 2018 with public consultations scheduled in the new year.

  • Continuation of FireSmart projects and maintenance of Whitecourt’s designation as a FireSmart Community.

  • Enhanced advertising campaigns and school programs will launch in 2018 to encourage recycling and help divert waste from the Whitecourt Regional Landfill.

  • Continuation of economic development initiatives that focus on business attraction; continued involvement in the Business Support Network; and promotion of Whitecourt through trade fairs, special promotion, and conferences.

  • Continued enhancements to online services to provide utility and tax customers electronic billing;

  • Continuation of planning and engineering for the municipal centre and public library building, and continued evaluation of the feasibility of an arts & culture centre.

  • Completion of the Sportfield Master Plan which incorporates Rotary Park, Skate Park, Graham Acres and the Community Learning Campus.  The priorities set for the Master Plan will help guide recreational investments over the next 20 years for our community.

  • Continuation of special events, such as Canada Day, Children’s Festival, Party In the Park, Run 4 Fun, and Arts In The Park.

 

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