BOWDEN — When Bowden town council sets its budget this spring or late winter, taxpayers can expect some increases, at least in sewer and water rates.
During an interview with the Albertan, mayor Robb Stuart said as always, council will do its level best to keep costs down, but not all costs are within its control.
For example, he said water and wastewater rates, set by regional commissions, are rising.
They rose last year too, but Stuart said council decided to absorb those hikes and not pass them on to residents.
“This year, we’re not going to have a choice,” he said.
Stuart said council hasn’t even seen the proposed budget yet.
"We never do ours until usually the end of February, early March," he said. “We’re actually just scheduling budget discussion for January some time.
“Administration has been working on it for about six weeks. But they don’t present it to council until they get all their numbers crunched.”
He said in any case, the town still has to wait for Red Deer County to set its mill rate.
The provincial budget, also set in spring, can be a factor as well.
However, Stuart did have some ideas of what to expect in the 2023 budget.
"Same old thing,” he said. “Part of our budget discussion is try to keep the cost down and not cut services.”
One area he knows the town will concentrate on is cutting down on water inflow and infiltration into the sewer system. That extra water costs the town money.
Stuart is aware that Olds is waging that same battle.
Stuart said a year or two ago, the town budgeted to fund part of a program to encourage residents utilizing sump pumps to pump water into the streets rather than sewers.
"You're supposed to do that year ‘round, but I think a lot of people don’t, so we’re going to really push that next year, try to get people involved,” he said.