The Town of Bonnyville has passed its 2019 operational and capital budgets with a zero residential tax increase. Mayor Gene Sobolewski stated during these tough economic times, it was important for the Town to maintain a zero tax increase.
“I’m quite proud that council held the line with a zero percent increase,” stated the mayor. Further the mayor stated that the budget have remained the same, “there is no increase to the operating budget, nor the capital budget.”
“We get it, the times are really tough,” Mayor Sobolewski explained council wanted to give the people and businesses in Bonnyville some relief and felt it was important to maintain the same budgets.
Overall, residential taxable assessments gave decreased by 8 percent and non-residential by 2.86 percent. To make up for the fact that many properties saw a decrease in assessment, the Town has increased its municipal mill rate to by 9.28 percent for residential and 3.42 percent for commercial.
“We chose to reduce the scope of some projects and tighten our belts in terms of operations to make this happen.”
On the operational side, some of the areas the town will see an increase in spending include; policing, occupational health & safety, administration training and legal fees. There was also an increase in council salaries to account for the fact that councillors are attending more meetings.
There is a decrease in advertising and insurance costs.
The Town will see a large increase to the capital budget for 2019 due to grant funding from the waterline project and ID-349 tax assessment funds, as well as the regional portion of ID-349 funds.
This will include $1,790,979 in grants from the province, $3,760,906 from ID-349, $1,000,000 from the regional portion of ID-349, $1,725,245 from the MD for the regional waterline project and $500,000 from the MD for the airport redevelopment project.
The MD will also provide $38,188 in Intermunicipal Cooperation Project (IMCP) funding to help balance the operational budget.
There will be a decrease in spending on annual street repairs and paving to help maintain a zero increase in spending in the capital budget. There is also a decrease in spending on the pool (deferred until 2020) and a decrease of $1.5 million which was allocated for the library expansion.
Capital projects on the books include the regional waterline, airport redevelopment project, and trail upgrades to attach Jesse Lake trail to the MD trail.