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Bowden council begins debate tonight on 2022 operating budget

Special public council meeting will be held on Jan. 17 at 6:15 p.m.
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BOWDEN — Council voted to hold a special council meeting today (Jan. 17) to discuss its operating budget. 

That decision was made during council’s Jan. 10 meeting. 

Today's meeting, which begins at 6:15 p.m. in the town office, is a public meeting, noted Greg Skotheim, the town's chief administrative officer (CAO) . 

Council also agreed to discuss a second issue during that meeting – what to do about a proposal to implement hybrid COVID rules in town-owned facilities.

Skotheim explained that under provincial law, each year, council must pass an interim budget, which was done on Jan. 10, by simply voting to use the town’s 2021 budget for that purpose. 

The Jan. 17 meeting was the first of several discussions expected over the next few weeks to thrash out the town’s 2022 operating budget. 

“The (chief financial officer) and the CAO have been working on it for a couple or three months. And then they’ll present it to council and we’ll talk about our priorities,” Town of Bowden Mayor Robb Stuart said during an interview. 

He indicated that there’s a chance that Bowden's 2022 budget may not be finalized for a while, because town officials will not know exactly how much funding to expect from the provincial government until it announces its budget in early spring. 

"You’ve got to have a little bit of a leeway, because we think we know what the (Municipal Sustainability Initiative grant) is, but you never know ‘till they actually announce it,” Stuart said. 

“And then we still have some land that’s under the county of Red Deer, so we need their mill rate before we can finalize our budget. But that’s just a small portion of it, like 0.1 per cent,” he added.