Wheatland County council passed the 2022 interim operating and capital budgets during the regular Tuesday, December 21 council meeting.
Prior to passing the interim budget, council had gone over various budget scenarios with administration during Committee of the Whole meetings in November and December, and some adjustments and deferrals were made to the draft budget from these discussions.
Along with the $47.6 million operating and $18.6 million capital budgets, council also approved a proposed zero per cent increase on municipal tax rates; municipal and farmland tax rates also saw a zero per cent increase in 2021.
Some $6.54 million is included in the budget for general construction and road maintenance, and an additional $1.63 million for road paving.
Division 6 Councillor Glenn Koester questioned whether one of the paving projects listed in the capital projects, estimated at some $300,000 to repair a portion of Township Road 224, could be deferred to allow a traffic study to be carried out. Councillor Koester noted this project has been “on for a long time” and a traffic study would give the county data which could be presented to the neighbouring Town of Strathmore to discuss possible cost-sharing opportunities for the project.
Reeve Amber Link agreed traffic counts would allow for future collaborative conversations with Strathmore, especially with an ongoing town development project in the area, but suggested this could be done “when it’s most relevant.”
Chief Administrative Officer Brian Henderson noted a traffic study would be facilitated by the Public Works department and could be brought back to council for consideration.
Water infrastructure was budgeted at some $1.42 million, which includes $528,000 for work in the Rosebud area to install new fire hydrants, place an additional water main, and decommission wells in the area. Rosebud was connected to the Wheatland Regional Corporation (WRC) regional waterline in December 2020 and upgrades to the hamlet’s wastewater and lift system were completed in November 2021; these upgrades came in under the $2.8 million budget, costing nearly $2.4 million.
The 2022-2024 interim operating budget and 2022-2026 interim capital budget were approved unanimously, and Reeve Link thanked CAO Henderson and administration for their work on the budget process and department breakdown.
Detailed reports for the 2022 interim operating and capital budgets can be viewed at https://wheatlandcounty.ca/wheatland-county-council-approves-2022-interim-budget/.