The 2020 – 2022 draft Operating Plan for the Village of Forestburg was reviewed and accepted by council as presented at a regular meeting on Feb. 21.
The plan does not contain any ‘special’ projects, which may be added to the operating budgets over the three year period and only covers the regular costs of operating the village.
The operating plan may be revised each year by Council when setting operating budgets for the future.
Administration has prepared a three-year operating projection that reflects the regular anticipated operating expenses, that will affect property tax and utility rates.
The total operating revenue is projected to rise from $3,373,940 in 2020 to $3,419,070 in 2022, with operating expenses expected to rise from $3,373,940 in 2020 to $3,419,070 in 2022.
In 2020, the residential tax rate is expected to decrease 9.75 per cent from 2019 with the projected tax rate increase based on the assessment values for 2018.
As a municipal organization, Forestburg currently employs six full-time staff, one permanent part-time staff member and up to four summer students each year.
Council consists of five elected officials with the Mayor being elected from within council.
Wages and benefits are expected to increase by approximately 2.5 per cent each year.
The cost of waste collection is not subsidized by property taxes and is recovered 100 per cent by the consumer.
Flagstaff Regional Solid Waste
Management Association is contracted to provide waste collection services, including weekly garbage collection within the village.
Flagstaff Regional Housing group, requisitions the village on an annual basis, with a separate tax rate set up to collect the required funds to provide seniors housing within the region.
As of Jan 1, 2020, the Village of Forestburg will be a member of the Flagstaff Regional Emergency Services Society.
The society will be providing fire protection and could also include disaster services to the entire Flagstaff region.
The cost of providing fire services will no longer be covered through the municipal property tax rates, which will be reflected with a significant decrease in 2020.
It is anticipated that the average cost of fire services will be $100 per $100,000 of property assessment, with the cost increasing incrementally by approximately $20 of that assessment per year from 2020 – 2022.
This cost will be set up as a separate tax by members of the society and other than normal inflation rates should stabilize after 2022.
Village Council began to develop a strategic plan in the summer of 2018 to identify initiatives to prioritize the budget.
Though the plan is not finalized, it includes developing and adopting plans for sidewalk removal and replacement, road repair and replacement, underground infrastructure replacement and facility condition assessments.
Also completing a legacy project for the 100th Anniversary of Forestburg, exploring opportunities to optimize utilization of the arena and developing and promoting an annual summer event.
Planning and adopting a funding strategy to replace the fire hall is included and completing a plan to develop a subdivision.
The village has made some progress with many of the initiatives identified in the plan, including completing a water network analysis by a municipal engineer in 2018, and updating the infrastructure replacement plan.
The subdivision plan has been approved and work has commenced on preparing the land for development.
The Village of Forestburg also acts as a managing partner for Flagstaff Municipal Partnership (FIP).
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Debra Moffat of the Village of Forestburg is the acting coordinator for this organization.
Revenues received for coordinator and management services are placed into a contingency reserve or are used only for special projects. These funds are not used to offset property taxes.
Council approved the 2019 operating budget of $146,650 for FIP with the requisition of $4,175.81 from the Village of Forestburg.
The Flagstaff Municipal Partnership is made up of nine member communities with each of them paying a share of the requisition.
Coun. Elaine Fossen will attend the Curtain Call Community Theatre to present the Community Service award to Jeff Northey who was chosen as the recipient of the 2018 Community Service Award.