Ponoka Town Council approved the 2022 Town of Ponoka Capital and Operating Budgets at its regular meeting last week. 

“During budget deliberations, Council and Administration worked to find efficiencies and arrive at a fiscally responsible budget. The 2022 Budget carefully manages spending while continuing to fund essential services that our citizens rely on, and it invests in key infrastructure that positions our community to grow and thrive into the future,” said Town of Ponoka Chief Administrative Officer, Sandra Lund. 

The total amount of the 2022 Budget is $26,942,490, which includes an Operating Budget of $20,165,130 and a Capital Budget of $6,777,360. 

After incorporating growth of $19.8 million in property value assessments for residential and commercial properties in Ponoka, the municipal portion of property taxes to fund the 2022 Budget equates to an annual increase of $23 per $100,000 of the assessed property value for residential properties, and $30 per $100,000 of the assessed value for commercial properties. This is equivalent to a three per cent increase in municipal property tax revenue for 2022 which helps offset rising costs of inflation, including increasing costs for fuel, transportation and utilities, and it ensures continued reliable delivery of services is supported.

Infrastructure Renewal 

The 2022 Budget delivers on key priorities outlined in the Town’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan by investing in the maintenance and improvement of existing infrastructure in Ponoka. 

Capital and Operating projects planned for 2022 include: 

  • 51 Avenue Redevelopment: Between 50 and 51 Street, including underground and surface infrastructure, and streetscape improvements; 
  • Pavement and Concrete Improvement Program: Includes annual maintenance and improvement of Town roadways and sidewalks throughout Ponoka; 
  • A new Community Peace Officer Program; 
  • New Skateboard Park Design: To design an expanded multi-use skateboard park. Public consultation is planned; 
  • Ponoka Aquaplex and Arena Complex improvements; 
  • Sports Fields Improvements: Includes bleacher replacements, dugout repairs, and shale and fencing repairs to ball diamonds and sports fields in the river valley on 46 Street; 
  • Tennis Court Facility Resurfacing; 
  • Dog Park Design Project: Construction of the new park will depend on future consideration and approval of the design, location and budget by Council; 
  • Enhancement of 49 Street Parking Lot and Trail Connection;
  • Park Design Improvements: Includes Lions Centennial Park and a new civic plaza design at 48 Avenue and 51 Street that would offer a central downtown gathering space for citizens. Public consultation is planned in 2022; 

2022 Budget Aligns with Public Consultation Results 

The 2022 Budget aligns with the results of the Town’s annual public consultation process, which once again included Coffee with Council events, a virtual Budget Consultation Open House and a Citizen Input Survey. The top priorities identified by the citizens who completed the Citizen Input Survey include: 

  • Quality of Life, which includes improvements to Town infrastructure, recreation facilities and walking trails in the Town of Ponoka; 
  • Growth and economic health; 
  • Governance and service excellence, which includes fiscal responsibility; and 
  • Relationships, which includes actively engaging with residents and stakeholders through initiatives, such as the Citizen Input Survey. 

“Citizen input is an important part of the budget process,” said Lund, noting, “Priorities identified in the budget survey results were considered and addressed in the 2022 Budget through projects, such as planned parks and trail improvements, planning for a new dog park, upgrades to the Arena and Aquaplex, improvements to roads and sidewalks throughout Ponoka and planning for improvements to the Town’s Wastewater Treatment Facility and Waste Transfer Station.”