Kneehill County considers next year’s budget

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The Municipal Government Act (MGA) requires a Municipality to adopt a Capital Budget annually and allows the adoption of an interim operating Budget.

In the spring of 2019, final numbers regarding assessment and education requisition will become available and at that time the tax rate bylaws can be considered and the Final Operating Budget can be approved.

Council pay will increase by three per cent next year but the pay is now taxable as a part of new rules set by the federal government.

Communications items For communication items, a new website launch is expected in 2019.

Expectations of this new site will include integrated videos, clearer navigation paths through a simpler design and mobile app capability.

The Non-Tangible Capital Asset Project, a carry forward amount from 2018 will be used to front the $40,000 expenditure.

Rebranding along with the 75th anniversary of Kneehill has been a constant project for the communications division.

The County estimates $103,000 for the rebranding and marketing of the brand plus an additional $20,000 towards the actual anniversary.

Communications Officer Debra Gros mentioned these numbers can be spread over a three to five year time frame as well.

A meeting management system was mentioned as an important item for some councillors.

The purpose of the new meeting management system is to create efficiencies for staff that are involved in the meeting management process.

It will include full legislative meeting support, robust end-to-end pre and post-meeting management and user configurable workflow support.

There will also be live meeting support, including roll call, minute capture, electronic voting, quorum etc.

Money has also been allocated as they seek a new Chief Administrative Officer.

Highway signage

Highway signage is expected to reach $234,000. There are currently six large signs bordering the area as well as several other smaller signs.

Transportation

The transportation portion of the budget is largely dedicated to staff, roads and bridges.

The county currently has 33 full-time staff that cover the outside work, administration and maintenance shop. Eight seasonal workers are hired annually as well. In total, $3.8 million will be spent on salaries alone.

Road maintenance regarding emergency events like flooding or landslides is budgeted for $131,000 and General Services is budgeted for $306,809.

The total Transportation Operating Expense comes to $7,132,345.

Capital projects also take up a large portion of the transportation budget with work being prepared for in Swalwell, new highway signage, road rebuilds at Sharples, Range Rd 24-4 / 24-5, Dunphy Bank Stabilization, road engineering at Twp Rd 31-0, from Hwy 21 to Hwy 836, Micro Surfacing 19 kilometres of road in various parts of the County, a shoulder pull contract for 72 km of road near Carbon/Swalwell correction line, gravel purchases, equipment replacements, bridges, and facilities upkeep.

Environmental Services

As for Environmental Services, Water and Wastewater operations will be a top priority as well as solid waste management and capital projects.

Pumphouse and Reservoir Fencing was identified through the Drinking Water Safety Plan.

A $100,000 budget for fencing off the Huxley, Wimborne, Torrington, Selkirk, Gamble, and Sunnyslope Reservoirs and Pump Houses will include installation of a six foot chain link fence with barbed wire top and vehicle/ man-gated access.

The parks budget has adjusted the Orkney Water, Sewer and Garbage to reflect usage and has adjusted the Horseshoe Canyon line items to reflect the actual upkeep and Maintenance Costs.

Two capital project’s they hope to work on this coming year is the Keiver’s Lake Chalet and Horseshoe Canyon crosswalk installation.

Protective services

Protective Services oversees Occupational Health and Safety, ER Management, and Fire services as well as protective measures.

As per council’s direction from February during the 2018 Strategic Planning Session, research options for additional Level 1 CPO or Enhanced RCMP Officer focusing on Rural Crime Prevention has been discussed.

The 2019 Operating Budget for protective services includes $51,600 in expenses for Torrington turnout gear, mask fitting, testing on equipment, safety supplies, radios, firefighting tools; $214,000 in Mutual Aid Agreement funding to Acme, Carbon, Linden, Three Hills and Trochu, $10,000 in Mutual Aid Agreement with Drumheller, $5,000 for Alberta Firefighters Curling Provincials Sponsor, $40,000 from 2018 unfinished renovations to the Torrington Hall.

The 2019 Capital budget includes $1,050,000 for full cost on two fire engines which would be funded through Capital Replacement Plan, $50,000; Radio Communications, $124,000 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, including a compressor for bottle fills.

New on the list is two Brush trucks at $200,000 a piece and an $80,000 emergency trailer.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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