Lacombe city council has adopted the 2019 capital and operating budgets.
New expenditures in the capital budget are worth $6.5 million, a total which will fund 43 projects, mostly roads and underground infrastructure-related.
Major projects to take place in 2019 include the Fairway Drive sidewalks, as well as replacement of curb and sidewalk, road base, surface, water and sewer mains along Northstar Drive.
Carryover projects from 2018 include the West Area servicing, which has a budget of $11.6 million, and upgrades to the intersection at Hwy 12 and 76 Street, worth $3.5 million.
City council also approved a fully-funded 10-year capital plan which cuts back on debt borrowing and is more reliant on external funding sources.
As for the operating budget, it will cause a 2.8 per cent tax rate increase, which The City notes is in alignment with the Alberta Consumer Price Index. This means the average household (valued at $372,000) will see a total increase of $87 in 2019.
“Council believes this is a prudent and realistic budget, responsive to the needs and preferences of our citizens,” said Mayor Grant Creasey. “It allows The City to keep pace with the rising cost of service delivery without placing undue burden on taxpayers.”
One notable reduction council made was to a request from Lacombe Police Service to increase its budget by $168,000 next year to $3.3 million. Council considered cutting the increase by $50,000, but instead trimmed it by $25,000 to $143,000.
Police Chief Lorne Blumhagen ensures that decision won’t have any impact on service delivery.
“It may cause some considerations on future capital purchases that may or may not have an adverse effect,” he says. “At this time, although we don’t like to see any decrease, it's manageable from an operational perspective.”
Blumhagen adds that The City has done to well to see LPS grow over the last several years to the point there are quick response times and sufficient boots on the ground.
The 2019 operating budget has combined total revenues and expenses of $44 million, which The City says results in a balanced budget. Approsimately $4.8 million of that is dedicated to policing.
Debt repayments total $2.5 million, there is increased saving into City reserves, upped spending on parks and playgrounds, and notable planning for growth.
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