The final 2021 capital and operating budgets for Wheatland County were approved by council during the regular council meeting on Tuesday, April 6, following revisions to the interim budget previously approved in December 2020.
Although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has posed financial challenges for many municipalities across the province, Wheatland County approved a zero per cent tax increase for residential and farmland properties in the 2021 operating budget.
“The 2021 final budget that council approved strikes a balance between fiscal responsibility and providing the municipal services our residents and businesses expect,” Wheatland County Reeve Amber Link said in a statement. “The ratepayer engagement survey that was undertaken during the 2021 budget process contributed to the prioritization of budget allocation.”
Nearly $2.1 million was allocated for the new Carseland Fire Hall, as well as more than $3.9 million for wastewater projects throughout the county, including $2.8 million for the Rosebud wastewater system in the capital budget.
The county also allocated $687,000 to support not-for-profits and hamlet projects, such as repairing and replacing sidewalks and concrete, and to support area libraries.
One of the largest budgeted expenditures is more than $13 million for road construction throughout the county.
“This is the culmination of a long and thorough process. Even though there’s not a ton of discussion there’s been months of discussion and iterations and adaptations,” Reeve Link said during the meeting.
The final operating budget of $63.1 million, and the final capital budget of $21.5 million was passed unanimously by council.