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MD finance committee looks at budget draft

“It was a preliminary discussion. There were a number of items brought forward by administration, operational and capital budget items, that will be presented with more detail at the next finance meeting. This was our first look at it.”
MD Bighorn
MD of Bighorn  EVAN BUHLER RMO PHOTO 

MD OF BIGHORN – As part of the process towards adopting the 2022-2024 operating budget and five-year capital plan, the MD of Bighorn’s finance and economic development committee looked at an early draft of the operating budget and five-year capital plan on Sept. 27.

The draft budget brings about the opening of the annual budget discussions, with the operating budget going toward the day-to-day costs of running the municipality, covering items such as fire services, utilities, and road clearing. The reserve budget collects funds in the current year to be set aside for other uses in the future, while the capital budget goes towards fixed assets, reviews, and studies. This can include machinery, vehicles, transportation studies or the rewriting of bylaws.

“It was a preliminary discussion. There were a number of items brought forward by administration, operational and capital budget items, that will be presented with more detail at the next finance meeting,” Reeve Lisa Rosvold said. “This was our first look at it.”

The draft budget noted increases in expenditures related to the addition of staff, increased emergency management training, inflation and inflationary adjustments based on the Alberta average.

Total revenue for 2023 in the draft budget is $1.768 million, which is expected to rise to $1.816 million by 2024. Expenses in 2023 are expected to be $7.26 million, rising to $7.47 million the following year.

Operating and capital expenses, and reserve contributions, funded from taxation will amount to $6.359 million in 2023, and the same amount for 2024, which will cover the rest of the expenses of 2023 and 2024.

Capital projects planned for 2023 include a new administration building, a road and bridge rehabilitation program, the replacement of the Harvie Heights lift station generator and the east Exshaw lane regrading. Those will likely change before the budget reaches its final stage.

“Things like the new administrative building for 2023, that is something that will get moved to a later year, 2024 or 2025, because we are still working on our operations shop,” Rosvold said.

In 2024, projects include a continuation of the bridge and road rehabilitation, and stormwater improvements to the Benchlands and Harvie Heights.

Administration recommended the committee make amendments for the Oct. 25 meeting and the draft report be received as information.

On Oct. 25, there will be a draft presentation presented again, with deliberation. Then, on Nov. 22, there will be further deliberation and recommendation to council.

“We will have a more thorough discussion around projects that have not necessarily been started for 2022,” Rosvold said. “There were some things that were budgeted and couldn’t be completed. Some things that were budgeted but under-budgeted. There might be a few things we have to add dollars into that were already approved in 2022.”