The Municipal District of Bonnyville Council approved $49,143,000 for the 2019 Interim Operating Budget at its Council meeting on December 12th, 2018.
The operating budget, which does not include capital budget items (with the exception of $143,000 for capital equipment replacement purchases for the Public Safety Department), is meant to keep the M.D. open for business during the first quarter of 2019, when final budget deliberations will take place. This includes keeping the lights on, staff continuing to look after our residents by delivering essential services (customer service, snow removal, waste pick up, water and sewer services) and contingency funds for any emergent projects that come up before the final budget can be approved in the spring.
In an effort to continue to be transparent and engage with residents, Council will host Town Halls in the new year to get resident feedback.
So what can ratepayers in the M.D. expect to see in the final budget? Reeve Greg Sawchuk explained Council’s priority will continue to make industry and business welcome in the M.D., as well as continuing to expand recreation opportunities for M.D. residents.
In 2019, small business (50 or less employees) will continue to benefit from the M.D.’s Small Business Property Sub-Class Mill Rate. Council is also eyeing a decrease to the M.D.’s Non-Residential Mill Rate, making our region more attractive for larger businesses to set up shop in the M.D. Sawchuk said this move will also help bring the M.D. closer to the provincially mandated 5:1 tax ratio (meaning the highest non-residential tax rate can be no more than five times the lowest residential rate).
“This budget will recognize the current economic conditions,” Sawchuk said. “Our Council will take a conservative approach, while maintaining essential services.”
The Parks, Recreation and Culture department is currently accepting proposals for a feasibility study for a multi-use, outdoor recreation park.
This is just one of the potential projects Council is looking at to serve the recreation needs of M.D. residents, while also creating facilities which may draw regional and provincial sporting events.