Red Deer County is in better financial shape than expected.
A report to council this week showed the county is sitting with a surplus of $6.5 million, four million more than was projected.
Heather Surkan, Director of Corporate Services told council the surplus came from collection $2.5 million in additional revenue and from operating expenses coming in $4.5 million under budget.
The $6.5 million surplus will be put into capital and operating reserves.
County council has approved new regulations for solar energy devices.
The regulations limit the height of solar panels not attached to buildings to 4.5 metres, and where unattached panels can be located on properties (in rear or side yards).
The regulations do not apply to agricultural lands within the county.
Administration contacted Lacombe County, Mountain View County and Starland County in preparing the regulations.
The county will be applying to Alberta Transportation for grant funding for a pilot project to expand public transit service to Penhold and Innisfail.
Alberta Transportation will be accepting applications for the Rural Transportation Pilot Program. Towns, municipal districts and counties within 50 kilometres of mid-sized urban centres are eligible to apply for funding to introduce new and expanded public transportation to rural areas. The program focus is to improve public transportation services between Alberta’s mid-sized urban centers and their surrounding communities. A maximum of $350,000 per year in a region is available.
The deadline for grant applications is March 29.
The county currently runs transit service between Red Deer and Springbrook.
A plan has been approved to turn 118 acres of land near Penhold into a major commercial/industrial development.
The approved southeast QEII/42 interchange local area structure plan covers land located at the southeast corner of Highway 42 and the QE II Highway.
The plan envisions a mix of commercial, as well as light and medium Industrial uses with the least intensive commercial uses being located along the northern boundary adjacent to Highway 42.
The county says 1,500 – 2,000 jobs could result from the development.
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