Red Deer County Council has tabled the 2023-2025 Operating budget and the 2023-2027 Capital Plan in search for public input. The budget illustrates inflationary pressures and continues to maintain service levels with a 3.5 percent projected tax rate increase.
County Mayor, Jim Wood explained that “Council is being prudent and items like road and bridge upgrades still make up the bulk of our Capital budget. Administration has put in a lot of logic in this budget, initiatives such as broadband is underway to help serve County residents, it is important to get this out to our public for their input.”
Director of Corporate Services, Heather Surkan added, “Red Deer County Administration has worked hard to create a draft budget that accomplishes significant work in both scope and scale, ensuring service levels are protected. We have made every effort to find partnerships with other levels of government to ease the burden on Red Deer County finances. The Operating Budget and Capital Plan is a ‘Back to Basics’ services, as we anticipate resuming our normal capital work program in 2024, although fraught with inflationary pressures, there are still items such as land sale(s) and potentially a larger government grant which bring a measure of finality to our heavy investment spending.”
Councilor Huelsman also remarked that “due to the funding formula of the Province, we see that the big urban centers are getting more funding and rural municipalities continue to receive increasingly less; yet our requisition from schools and policing are also increasing.”
Capital spending in 2023 will increase to $42.4M from last year’s $21.6M. This is mainly due to land development in the south-end location of the hamlet of Springbrook and building the broadband infrastructure. The Operating budget will also see a very slight increase from $56.7M to $58.9M. Thanks to partnerships with other levels of government, the County is undertaking significant public works projects while not creating unnecessary tax increases to the public.
Members of the public have two weeks to provide feedback on the information being presented. The draft budget report can be found online at www.rdcounty.ca/budget Once public comments are received, the budget will return to Council on December 13, 2022 for approval.
Key Initiatives for 2023:
- Bridge Program $3.6M
- Fire Apparatus/ Protective Services Vehicle Replacement $1.2M
- Internet Broadband Infrastructure* $14M
- Junction 42 Infrastructure and Land Development $1.7M
- County Centre – parking lot repairs and paving upgrades $1.5M
- Red Deer Regional Airport (Capital Contribution)* $1.3M
- Springbrook main Lift Station $1.1M
- Springbrook South Development $7.1M
*subject to further Council consideration