County of Stettler presents its draft budget

Ratepayers expected to pay for policing costs

By Jessica Jones

For the independent

The County of Stettler council held its public budget presentation on Dec. 17th, and while they presented a balanced draft budget, ratepayers can expect an additional charge on their tax bills in 2020.

The County of Stettler CEO Yvette Cassidy outlined that the 2020-2023 budget reflects fiscal responsibility but they found themselves, “Back to the drawing board” following the announcement that the Provincial Government would be quadrupling the municipality’s responsibility to fund policing.

“After developing a balanced budget with council, the Provincial Government downloaded a new budget line to rural municipalities: policing,” Cassidy read from the 2020-2023 budget executive summary.

“In the eleventh hour, in an effort to rebalance our budget, absorbing a $200,000 loss in Municipal Suitable Initiative Funding and looking for a source of income to fund the $145,000 budget line for policing in 2020.”

The County of Stettler also needed to look at future costs of policing services, which are $218,138 in 2021, $290,643 in 2022, and $436,277 in 2023.

Much like the Education tax remittance or the Seniors Housing remittance, taxpayers who pay approximately $3,000 in property tax can expect to see about a $33 extra charge in police services on their tax bills.

The meeting has been posted to the County’s YouTube channel, and the draft budget has been made public on County of Settler’s web site.

Council is inviting residents to make comments on the draft budget before they consider passing it at their next regular meeting on Jan. 14th, 2020.

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