Council walked through their interim operating budget at their final meeting of 2019.
It was passed with no issues and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller finds this budget to be in a very early stage as the final budget will be presented in the spring.
“It’s basically a very preliminary document just to give you [councillors] an idea of what are some of the changes, what’s new, what we are looking at,” said CAO Fuller.
As per the Municipal Government Act (MGA), municipalities must pass an interim budget before Jan. 1 in order to continue operations including payments and banking.
Water pricing is still being worked on as consumption numbers are monitored.
“It’s more of a formality. It isn’t by any stretch of the imagination of what we are proposing to tax our residents,” she said.
Beginning 2020, administration will be required to come up with a three year projected budget.
Projected policing costs
With the provincial government introducing a new police costing model, municipalities are holding their breath as they wait for a solidified formula to be introduced next year.
The model is meant to add more officers in rural communities but council is highly doubtful any real change will be made with this shift in funding for policing.
“I think they are going to put up a help wanted sign at the detachment and bill us $15,000 for it,” said Coun. Rob McDonald.
“It’s not going to make one bit of difference,” added Coun, Lynn Shultz. In the meantime, Bashaw administration took the time to come up with some projected figures of what they could potentially be facing as an information piece.
In 2021, when the province begins billing, the town could see a 15 per cent increase at $23,572 with a final increase of 30 per cent by 2024 for a total of $47,144 in additional billing.
Administration felt adding in their prediction for 2020 may help alleviate the immediate financial expense.
Coun. McDonald suggested they invite Camrose area MLA Jackie Lovely to a meeting to which council agreed.
New guidelines for fire department
CAO Fuller presented council with new guidelines the fire department will be running under when it comes to standard operating, like budgeting and procedures.
This update comes to simplify previous processes and to add transparency.
A fire chief report from Bashaw Fire Chief Jordan Lee was also provided. In it, he described a number of interesting facts about how the year unfolded.
Fifty-two calls have been made as of Dec. 11.
The new 1992 Volvo pump truck they purchased from Camrose County has been a great asset to calls so far.
“Runs good, pumps good,” said Lee in his report. “Guys like taking it on calls and has been an asset to many. It is mostly stocked with the basic tools we need.”
The department is always open to having new members join but currently sits at 24 on the roster.
They are working on developing a junior firefighter school program with work experience which should help with future recruiting.
“Overall a good year. Lots of equipment and department updates. Great teamwork from members and between the town,” he concluded.