Press Release - Whitecourt Town Council Update April 29, 2021
Whitecourt Town Council has approved the 2021 Budget. Valued at $51,193,613, the budget supports priorities identified by Council in the 2021 Strategic Plan and its intention to sustain service levels while at the same time planning for the future.
A 1.99% tax rate increase is required to support the budget. This is a 0.33% decrease from what was proposed in the interim budget that was adopted in December 2020.
Whitecourt Town Council has taken a conservative approach in the development of the 2021 Budget in recognition of the financial challenges faced by local residents and businesses. In addition to the $800,000 in reductions made last year, an additional $500,000 in cost efficiencies and reduced spending have been implemented in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and an unpredictable economy.
Based on the approved budget, Administration is preparing the Tax Rate Bylaw which will be presented to Council at the May 10, 2021 Regular Meeting. The 2021 Budget Report will subsequently be published in mid-May and will be posted online at www.whitecourt.ca and paper copies will be made available at the Town Office.
Whitecourt Town Council approved the 2020 Financial Statements for the year end of December 31, 2020. A presentation was made by the Town’s auditor, Curtis Friesen from Metrix Group, who reported that the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the consolidated financial position of the Town of Whitecourt as of the end of 2020.
Whitecourt Town Council has adopted the 2021 Strategic Plan. The plan outlines Council’s current priorities and identifies where it will focus resources. A copy of the Plan is available on our website at www.whitecourt.ca/Government.
Whitecourt awarded $21,388 to three local organizations under the Enhancement Grant Program to provide assistance with start-up or development of new community events, or assistance with enhancements to existing programs or facilities. The funding was awarded as follows:
- $4,052 to the Little Sprouts Fundraising Society for an outdoor play space;
- $2,951 to the Whitecourt Potters’ Guild for guild storage and glaze chemical handling improvements;
- $14,385 to the Whitecourt Golf & Country Club for the capital improvement of a John Deere Gator TX Turf.
Sweet Rolls Creamery has been awarded a one-year lease agreement for concession services at Rotary Park. The concession will operate from May to September this season.
Whitecourt has temporarily relaxed regulations for outdoor patios and retail spaces for the 2021 season. Under current provincial public health restrictions, many local businesses are wanting to develop temporary outdoor patios/retail spaces on public lands so that they can remain open for business or expand their retail capacity. Council has agreed to waive development permit fees for temporary outdoor spaces, retroactively to April 6, 2021, in an effort to support local restaurant and retail businesses during the economic recovery due to COVID-19. The waiving of fees, as well as Council’s decision to allow Development Officers to issue and approve necessary permits, will fast track permit processing while supporting local businesses. For more information, please visit our website at www.whitecourt.ca/Services/Construction-Permitting.
The Town of Whitecourt is preparing for the upcoming October 2021 Municipal Election. Similar to previous elections, Whitecourt will be offering special ballots, advance and institutional voting. Information on the 2021 Municipal Election can be found online at www.whitecourt.ca/2021Election. Amendments have also been made to Bylaw 1487 – Automated Vote Counting System.