By Cole Parkinson
The Municipal District of Taber have approved their operating and capital budgets for 2018.
At the M.D.’s regular meeting on Dec. 12, councillors got a good look into what both of the budgets would look like for the upcoming year.
“The budget projects $482,144 operating budget deficit which includes non cash expenses of $4,159,502 for amortization and projects a net change in cash of $2,111,138. Less cash is projected at the end of fiscal 2018 compared to 2017 and the previous budget of 2017 projected a $868,794 decrease in cash reserves,” said Bryan Badura, director of corporate services, of the 2018 operating budget compared to last year’s budget.
The biggest reason the M.D. is seeing a loss this year is their continued progress on their new operations and management facility located near Barnwell.
“That’s basically due to the shop, it’s something that we had anticipated and we knew we were doing a significant project out there. We’ve been saving up in order to do it,” said Brian Brewin, reeve for the M.D. of Taber.
While the shop is not yet complete, Badura says they have enough budgeted for work to continue until it is done.
“With regard to the shop, we’ve got in the budget to complete the shop and the campus. We’ve got budgeted $2.211 million for the completion of that which we’re proposing would come out of the capital reserves as well.”
Included in the 2018 budget is net values of $14,979,879 from property taxes, $1,582,526 from grants and interest, $364,570 from assessment services, $969,602 from fire protection, $162,514 from bylaw enforcement, $367,407 from development and planning and $9,530,237 from transportation services.
On the department side they see nets of $810,019 from the water department, $285,276 from the waste water department, $77,435 from Family Community Support (FCS), $1,375,581 from the Agricultural Service Board, $1,445,293 from land/housing/buildings, $617,346 from recreation and parks and the library for $149,125 for a total operating surplus of $482,144 compared to last year’s which was at $1,179,781.
Property taxes have seen a change of two per cent up $291,684 from last year, grants and interest have seen a slight change with an added $7,462 and assessment services have jumped up by $87,657.
Fire protection, bylaw enforcement and transportation services have seen cuts of $125,128, $43,339 and $3,210 respectively while development and planning have been increased by 63.36 percent for a total of $43,339.
The water department, FCS and the Agricultural Service Board have seen jumps of $27,097, $26,413 and $45,808 respectively.
“With regard to the budget deficit and the anticipated from reserves to cover the cash shortfall, just given the current conditions that not funding amortization, the way the current economy is, oil prices especially, we eventually will recover the lost assessment and be able to fully fund our amortization, positive cash flows, increase assessments and economic development in the future. Even though fully funding amortization should be a goal, it’s not required,” said Badura.
One question council had was in regard to the big bump FCS got, last year it was at $51,022 and this year it saw a rise to $77,435.
“Our contribution to the FCS program was $51,022, we expected a small 2/2.5 per cent increase to that contribution. In addition that is where we budgeted for the Taber and District Housing study, an additional $25,000,” said Badura.
The capital budget meanwhile sees administration budgeted at $50,000, fire protection at $172,500, transportation at $5,184,352, the water department at $313,644, the Agricultural Service Board at $303,000, lot and land sales at $300,000 and recreation and parks at $65,000 for a total net capital of $5,788,496 compared to the 2017 budget which had it set at $6,208,077.
Amortization is exactly the same from last year at $4,159,502 and change in cash has seen a bump up to $2,111,138 compared to $868,794 in 2017.
Both budgets were approved unanimously.