Council approves 2020 budget at December 10 meeting
Operational costs reduced by 4 per cent as Council and Administration work to find efficiencies
Lac La Biche County Council has approved the 2020 municipal budget.
Council held six meetings dedicated to discussing the budget. As a pilot project, Council also organized two open houses on the proposed budget. All residents were invited to give their feedback, and attendees’ ideas were compiled in a report for Council’s consideration.
Operating expenditures for 2020 are set at $53.2 million. The operating budget was reduced by approximately 4 per cent compared to last year—Council and Administration looked for reasonable efficiencies while maintaining existing programs and services. New capital spending is set at $24 million.
Continuing construction of the Bold Center’s sports fields, further investments in economic development and tourism, and improvements to the local golf course are a few highlights from the operating and capital budgets.
The County is targeting a surplus of $903,818, while $5.65 million has been set aside in capital reserves. The surplus and capital reserves allow Council and Administration to fund services and project as they come up throughout the year. Additionally, a $5 million fiscal stabilization fund, which is set aside for Council discussion in March 2020, will help soften the blow if the County faces losses in assessment and government grants.
“We have a sound plan in place well before the year begins,” said Mayor Omer Moghrabi. “I’d like to thank Administration for working hard this year to find operational efficiencies, while keeping intact the excellent programs and services that we offer to residents. I’d also like to thank our residents for attending the open houses—we take citizens’ ideas seriously as we build a budget that furthers our County’s goal of being a diverse, healthy, and safe community.”
A full summary of the budget will be posted on the County’s website in the coming weeks. Council will be meeting in March 2020 to tweak the three-year operating plan and five-year capital plan. At that time, they will also make additional budgetary decisions, after the federal and provincial budgets are tabled and the County’s assessment is known. Council will set municipal tax rates later in 2020.
Media inquiries may be directed to:
Jihad Moghrabi, Communications, Lac La Biche County