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Last updateThu, 21 Sep 2023 8am

Horner delivers fiscal update

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The province is $94 million ahead of where it expected to be, according to MLA for Drumheller Stettler and President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Nate Horner.
Horner delivered the first quarter fiscal update, which shows the province is on course to a $2.4 billion surplus by the end of the fiscal year. This is up $94 million from what was budgeted.
“Alberta’s finances remain strong, and thanks to our new fiscal framework, Alberta’s fiscal position is poised to become even stronger. Our continued priorities of paying down debt and saving for the future will ensure we have the capacity to meet Albertans’ needs both today and well into the future,” said Horner.
With the province’s new fiscal framework, it is required to use half of the surplus cash to pay down debt. With this update, the province is on track with its plan to eliminate $2.6 billion in taxpayer-supported debt. In 2023-24, the total amount available for allocation is forecast at $5.2 billion, which includes $5.1 billion carried over from the 2022-23 final results.
The remaining surplus will be allocated to the Alberta fund. From there it can be used for further repayment or squirrelled away in the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund.
Revenue in the forecast is up $491 million and is driven by an increase in corporate and professional income tax revenues, projected to be a $1.5 billion increase.
Oil revenues have fallen overall. Revenue resources are projected to decrease by $694 million. While bitumen royalties are projected to increase by $515 million, the price of a barrel of oil is now about $4 less than what Budget 2023 was based on.
Expenses are forecasted to be $68.7 billion, a $397 increase from the budget.
According to a release disastrous wildfires in the province have also added to unforeseen expenses. The province has directed $750 million for fighting this year’s wildfires. Another $175 million is budgeted for uninsurable losses, $75 million of which is expected to be covered by the federal government, and $55 million, mainly for emergency evacuation payments.
“Our positive numbers today are a testament to the resilience we continue to build in the province’s finances and Alberta’s economy as we retain our position as the economic engine of Canada,” said Horner.

Community comes together to celebrate RCMP 150th anniversary

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Drumheller RCMP held its 150th anniversary celebration on Thursday, August 31 and, despite multiple events going on simultaneously and some overcast weather, the community turned out to help celebrate. Along with putting the detachment’s fleet of cruisers on display, there were some special appearances from the tactical armoured vehicle unit, motorcycle traffic unit, Drumheller Citizens on Patrol, and Safety Bear. Residents enjoyed an up close and personal look at some of the holding cells within the detachment, and Caden, 8, (left) and Cooper, 11, even had the chance to take a seat in the police armoured vehicle. Staff Sergeant Rob Harms was grateful for the outpouring of community support and says the event could not have been done without help from the detachment’s administrative staff, who helped immensely with the planning of the event, or the support and donations from local organizations.

Drumheller firefighters averaging over a call per day

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In the first eight months of 2023, the Drumheller Fire Department has responded to 265 calls-this is, on average, just over one call per day.
Drumheller Fire Chief Derian Rosario says the department, which includes the Drumheller, East Coulee, and Rosedale halls, could see over 400 calls by the end of the year if the trend continues as it has.
“Our greatest increase is in monitored alarm calls and EMS assist (medical first responder) calls,” Chief Rosario tells the Mail.
The Mail reported in January 2023 the department had responded to a total of 309 calls in 2022; this was an increase from 2021 when the department responded to 193 calls, and it appears the trend of increased call volume is continuing.
Although members of the three halls have responded to a variety of calls, ranging from structure fires and motor vehicle collisions, many of the calls they attend are for alarms from monitored alarm companies. It is unclear what, if any, financial impact these types of calls have; the Mail reached out to Chief Rosario as to whether there is an associated cost to the municipality for department members to attend a false alarm or monitored alarm call, but had not received any figures as of press time.
A close second are EMS assist and other Medical First Responder calls, in which the department is called to provide care when an ambulance is either unavailable or not in the immediate vicinity, or when assistance is needed by EMS personnel on scene.
Chief Rosario notes, while firefighters are qualified to act in the capacity as Medical First Responders, they are not allowed to transport patients.


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