Kneehill County realized a $2.9 million surplus in 2015 due to savings in several areas like lower project bids and lower fuel costs.
Director of Corporate Services Mike Morton presented council with the finalized numbers from the 2015 financial statements at the Apr. 12 meeting.
Council considered options of where to apply the surplus. Morton offered several scenarios, one of which was to use part of the surplus to pay off the county’s water service area debenture two years early, saving $40,000 in interest.
Of the $2.9 million, $1.8 million will go towards the debenture, $460,000 into contingency reserves and $621,209 will go to balancing the 2016 budget.
Morton also presented options to balance the budget, which had a $1.8 million dollar shortfall. Along with a portion of 2015 reserves, council chose to cancel a $500,000 project for shop and grader shed upgrades. A transfer of $750,500 towards the building reserve was also cancelled.
Assessment values down
Linear assessments in Kneehill County have declined along with the rest of the province council learned as representatives from Municipal Affairs gave a presentation on how assessments are calculated.
David Imrie, Mike Minard and Michael Tautchin of the province’s Linear Property Assessment Team met with council to review a few key areas.
Linear assessments include cable television lines, telecommunications, electric power systems and generation, wells and pipelines.
Kneehill’s assessment has declined 7.5 percent from last year, or a drop of $94,536,770 in property value.
According to Imrie, a legal challenge from oil and gas companies to reduce coal bed methane assessments will go to appeal in September. Kneehill and surrounding counties will have legal representation at the hearing because wells belonging to those companies are located in the county.