DIDSBURY - Town council approved the 2021 operating budget -- which calls for total expenditures of $11,640,764 -- during the May 19 council meeting.
The budget calls for total tax support of $4,727,454, a 1.10 per cent increase over 2020.
Coun. Erhard Poggemiller made the motion to approve the 2021 operating budget.
“I would like to suggest that administration has done a pretty good job bringing this budget in at one per cent,” said Poggemiller. “I am one who is not prepared to saddle another council with huge increases because we chose to not do anything about it.
“I do think we have to account for some inflation. I do think we have to account for the fact that equipment gets old and needs to be replaced. We need to have things in place for emergencies.”
Coun. Bill Windsor said, “I’m going to vote against this motion because I don’t think this is the year we need to be increasing the revenue through taxes. I think this year so far, 2021, is pretty much a repeat from 2020, and in 2020 we had we had a $148,000 budgetary surplus and I think probably that would cover whatever increase in cost of living that would be associated with it.
“But in addition to that, we had over half a million dollar injection in the MOST (federal and provincial COVID relief program) grant revenue. I don’t see how with a surplus from last year, relatively the same situation as we had last year, and an injection of half a million from the federal government that we need to be increasing the burden on our taxpayers.”
Coun. Dorothy Moore said, “I would like to point out that we are paying $428,206 more for RCMP than we did at the beginning of our term.”
The 2021 budget calls for total operating expenditures of $11,640,764, an increase of $116,902 from 2020’s total of $11,523,862.
General government expenses are $903,850, up from $868,226 last year.
Community services expenses are $502,241, down from $520,654 in 2020. Expenses in that department include $263,943 for FCSS, an increase of $43,473.
Recreational services expenses are $2,254,293, up $46,575 from 2020. Expenses there including $665,551 for the arena, an increase of $38,188 from 2020, $688,635 for aquatic centre, down $58,380 from 2020, and $131,019 for the curing rink, up $2,859 from last year.
Communications and marketing expenditures are $181,900, compared with $97,850 last year.
Culture department expenditures are $345,203, down $13,938 from 2020, and includes $303,183 for the library, down $14,389.
Protective services expenses are $1,695,672, up $35,046, and includes $789,975 for RCMP, up $64,270, $592,645 for fire department, an increase of $10,625.
Planning and development expenses are $617,710, down $116,226 from 2020.
Public works expenses are $1,923,831, up $107,125 from last year.
Utilities expenses are $2,876,704, down $82,117 from 2020.