Press Release - Whitecourt approves 2020 Interim Budget
Whitecourt Town Council has approved the 2020 Interim Operating and Capital Budget. The Interim Budget includes over $52 million of capital and operating expenditures and requires a 0% overall tax change.
“Whitecourt Town Council realizes that an unpredictable and volatile economy has impacted many families in our community, and we have been mindful of that during development of this budget,” stated Mayor Maryann Chichak. “We tasked Administration and community advisory boards to find cost efficiencies and reduce spending. At a time when inflation and cost of living continues to increase, we have developed an interim budget that requires no change to tax rates,” stated Mayor Maryann Chichak.
The passing of the Interim Budget allows projects to proceed before the 2020 Budget is given final approval. The 2020 Budget will be finalized in the spring of 2020 once the Provincial budget is adopted, and final assessment figures are established. The 2020 Interim Budget Report can be viewed on www.whitecourt.ca.
“While we have managed to keep the overall tax change at 0% for the interim, there are still a number of factors that could significantly impact our operations and the tax rate before we adopt the final budget. The federal and provincial budgets, as well as intermunicipal service agreement negotiations with Woodlands County, could impact revenue sources and force us to revisit proposed projects, service levels and the tax rate for 2020,” added Mayor Chichak.
Capital Budget Highlights:
- The 2020 Street Improvement Program includes street, lighting, and sidewalk repairs at locations throughout the community.
- The Water System Upgrade Project construction is anticipated to begin in 2020 with funding support from the Build Canada Program and the Alberta Community Partnership Program. The upgrades include a dedicated supply main and other system upgrades, including pressure reducing measures to improve the distribution network and fire flows.
- The Aerial Platform Pumper Truck was ordered in 2019 and is expected to be delivered in June 2020. The unit is expected to be in service by the summer of 2020.
- Festival Way will be constructed in Rotary Park in the spring of 2020 with funding support from the Enabling Accessibility Fund and sponsorship from the Rotary Club of Whitecourt. Festival Way will provide the base for future cultural and family entertainment options in the community, and will enhance Rotary Park through the creation of a corridor for pedestrian traffic through the park with spaces for community groups to set up tents/displays with power services and pathway lighting.
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.
- Continued collaboration and development of new agreements with Woodlands County for services that benefit residents of both municipalities.
- Creation of a Geographic Information System (GIS) that will be completed in the spring of 2020 that will centralize the Town’s datasets and allow for better use and analysis of the information.
- Completion of the Regional Business Park Feasibility Study in partnership with Woodlands County to identify current and future industrial needs in the region.
- Create recommendations based on the Flood Mitigation Plan for future flood mitigation enhancements, funding strategies, education programs, and projects that will improve community flood planning and mitigate potential flood damage.
- Development of a Sports Hosting Partnership Program to support and grow the economic impact that is experienced through hosting sporting activities in our community.
As part of the budget process, members of the public will have an opportunity to review the Interim Budget and provide feedback at the annual Budget Open House. The 2020 event is tentatively scheduled for February, and advertisements will be published in the new year.