Whitecourt Town Council has approved the 2024 Interim Budget. The budget, totaling $98,245,884, consists of a $43,589,013 operating budget and a capital budget of $54,656,871. The budget maintains service levels, and funds important capital investments with a 3.77% tax rate increase.
“Despite being faced with rising inflation costs, cost of living increases, reductions in provincial funding and federal carbon tax increases, Whitecourt continues to have one of the most competitive tax rates in our region,” stated Whitecourt Mayor Tom Pickard. “I’m proud of the budget approved. It maintains service levels, and allocates funding according to priorities outlined in our strategic plan and from public engagement.”
The 2024 Interim Budget Report can be viewed on the Whitecourt website at www.whitecourt.ca/your-town
“The Culture & Events Centre is the biggest capital investment budgeted for next year; however, construction is still subject to the tender process,” added Mayor Pickard. “For 15 years, our community has been researching, discussing and planning for this facility. Whitecourt Town Council heard what residents had to say about the centre, and recently unveiled an updated design that incorporated this feedback. Similar to what the Allan & Jean Millar Centre has done for our community, the Culture & Events Centre will enhance our community’s qualify of life, and drive economic development and investment attraction.”
2024 Capital Budget Highlights:
- The Culture & Events Centre is budgeted for in the 2024 Budget; however, construction is still subject to the tender process. It is anticipated that the project will commence this year and have a two-year construction period. Information on the new design and budget for the Culture & Events Centre can be found at https://cultureandeventscentre.ca/
- The 2024 Street Improvement Program includes street, lighting, and sidewalk repairs at locations throughout the community.
2024 Operating Budget Highlights:
- Whitecourt has received grant funding for a two-year period to undertake social prescribing services for seniors in the region. The grant, provided by the United Way and through Health Aging Alberta, supports a full-time contract Seniors Resource Lead position to help connect seniors with non-medical programs and services in the community to enhance their quality of life.
- Whitecourt is making it easier for community members to apply for a building permit. Starting January 1, 2024, Whitecourt will work directly with Safety Codes Agencies to create a “one-stop shop” for development and building permits. The change will create a single point of contact for applications, and more coordinated approach to the permitting process. This move has been made as part of Whitecourt’s commitment to reduce red tape.
- Whitecourt will continue to act as an Alberta Advantage Immigration Program “Designated Community” under the Rural Renewal Program and Entrepreneur Streams. These programs will support workforce development by helping to address long-term labour shortages by attracting newcomers; and encourage new investment in Whitecourt by attracting entrepreneurs and new businesses.
The 2024 Budget will be finalized in the spring of 2024 once the Provincial budget is adopted, and final assessment figures are established. Specific tax rate impacts will vary by property type depending on the assessed value of a home or business, and will be determined once the final budget is adopted.