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Interim 2023 Mountain View County budget sees reserves reduced

Special meeting of Mountain View Council to review and discuss reserves in depth set for Feb. 15

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY – County council has approved a balanced 2023 interim budget, which includes a net reduction to reserves of $1.5 million.

The approval came during the recent council meeting, held in person and on Zoom.

“The county’s contribution towards provincial policing is set to increase by $332,500 in 2013; it has been standard practice in the past several years to increase municipal taxes by a corresponding amount,” Jeff Holmes, chief administrative officer, said in a briefing note to council.

“We see both an increase of revenue and expense to cover this change.”

The interim budget calls for total revenue of $36,563,120, a change of $1,417,025 from 2022, and total expenses of $39,058,886, a change of $1,428,815.

The forecasted property tax is set at $31,448,405, a change of $332,500 from 2022, and total operating costs of $2,353,030, up $149,849 from last year.

Regarding revenues, Holmes said, “Major changes in operating grants are based on the removal of $27,500 for the provincial FireSmart grant which was allocated in 2022 to fund fire preparedness (Bearberry Protection Area) and the addition of $429,000 for the Bergen tornado grant.

“The largest reduction in revenues is related to government transfers to capital; in the 2023 interim budget, we see a loss of $2 million in capital grants. This is largely attributed to the removal of (Flood Recovery Erosion Control) FREC grants ($1.25 million) and the removal of (Canada Community-Building Fund) CCBF ($655,000) carried forward from 2021 that have been fully expended in 2022.”

Regarding insurance, he said, “Early indicators suggested an increase of seven to 15 per cent in insurance costs for the 2023 budget, seven to 10 per cent on buildings and 15 per cent on equipment. However, after a thorough review of insured assets the total increase is approximately 5.2 per cent. 

“Additionally, we have included $12,000 for environmental impairment liability insurance for the airports which is new to the 2023 budget. Overall, the net increase in insurance is expected to be 8.5 per cent or $30,500.”

Regarding reserves, he said, “The 2023 interim budget includes a net reduction in reserves of $1,593,000. Factors that will influence this number include assessment changes and any tax rate increase approved by council.”

A special council meeting has been scheduled on Feb. 15 for an in-depth review for reserves and discussions of the proposed 2023 operating budget.

“We have presented a balanced 2023 interim budget including an estimate of the major changes we expect to incur,” he said. “Changes may happen up until the 2023 operating budget is approved. This may happen with new information (including) federal and provincial budget announcements.”

Budget deliberations for the 2023 ongoing, says reeve Angela Aalbers.

All council members attended the recent council meeting, with the next regular meeting scheduled for Jan. 11.

Dan Singleton

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