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Red Deer County passes 2020 budget

Infrastructure projects a priority for county
Red Deer County File WEB
Red Deer County council has passed its 2020 operating and capital budgets with no anticipated negative impacts for taxpayers. File photo/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL – Red Deer County is focusing on future development but not at the expense of its taxpayers.

Red Deer County council approved and passed 2020-2022 operating and capital budgets at a council meeting on Dec. 17.

The 2020 operating budget is up slightly over last year from $51.8 million to $54.4 million, while the 2020 capital budget is also up from $28.7 million in 2019 to $32.3 million in 2020. 

Anticipated county reserves for 2020 are $39.8 million.

“Red Deer County recognizes that the economy is still uncertain. That said, we are committed to providing a high level of service and completing important projects that move our strategic plan ahead,” said Mayor Jim Wood, in a recent press release. “We will not burden taxpayers, but we will also ensure our infrastructure is in excellent condition.”

Several key infrastructure upgrades are also planned for 2020, including more than $5 million for a water treatment facility and reservoir in Springbrook, more than $10 million allocated for road and bridge improvements, including those in Gasoline Alley, and about $2 million going toward a broadband internet project.

With many municipalities in Alberta facing uncertainty and struggling economies, Red Deer County is attempting to reduce the impacts of any future cuts and reduced funding from the province, such as that of the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI).

“Staff has worked hard to ensure our service levels remain high, and that the county is ready for future development. We have worked closely with council to align the budget to strategic goals, while not creating undue hardship on taxpayers,” said Heather Surkan, the county's director of corporate services in a press release. 

The province has yet to release school acquisition numbers. Another provincial budget is anticipated in March 2020.  

According to a press release, any changes to tax rates will be addressed in the spring.