By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
The interim 2018 budget for Picture Butte has been approved, and in it includes increases for ambulance services and the community pace officer program.
Passed during Picture Butte town council’s regular Dec. 11 meeting, the interim budget projects a two per cent increase for municipal taxes. However, according to the town’s director of corporate services, Patrick Lyster, that number may change once the town’s assessment comes in later this spring.
“In order to calculate tax rates, you have to have your tax revenue, but you also have to have your assessment value, and we don’t have our assessment values yet,” said Lyster. “If the assessment value grows more then two per cent, then taxes would go down. But if the assessment grows less then two per cent, then the tax rate would increase.”
According to the budget highlights, work is currently ongoing for the website revamp, with the majority of expenses to be recognized this year. The town is also continuing with the computer replacement program as part of their existing IT budget.
Emergency and policing services were given a boost in the interim budget. The town will continue with the transferring of $99,000 to reserves for large capital purchases for the town’s fire department, and the budget for fire equipment increased by $20,000 to accommodate a needed pump rebuild on one of the fire engines.
The town experienced a small increase in Revenues from their contract with Alberta Health Services, and increased the reserve transfer from $20,000 to $45,000 in order for sufficient funds to be available to replace the town ambulance once it reaches seven-years old.
The town’s budget for the CPO program increased by $12,000, as recommended by the Coaldale and District Municipal Enforcement.
The Town of Picture Butte is continuing with last year’s budget for $50,000 for asphalt repairs, along with budgeting $6,500 for factory drive line painting, crosswalks and parking lines in town. An additional $5,000 was budgeted for sidewalk maintenance on top of the $75,000 capital budget for sidewalk replacement.
Water, sewer and garbage rates were budgeted to increase by 1-1.5 per cent. A total of $14,000 was budgeted for clearwell and reservoir cleaning, and the town has an increase of approximately $35,000 to the Waste Commission fees, due to the change for commercial garbage.
Currently, the town has budgeted for the pool to be closed this summer to allow for repairs, although that may change depending on when the repairs can be done.
“That’s what we budgeted for right now, but because we want to do this, the full pool upgrade, it would probably, we’re hoping to get construction going sooner rather then later, which would mean not having a pool available to us this summer,” said Lyster. “If we aren’t able to get construction started when we want to, we might still have the pool for the whole summer or part of the summer. But, it’s going to depend on when construction can actually start.”