Town of Stettler adopts budget of $14.5 million

Taxpayers in the Town of Stettler will be paying a little more after town council finalized an operating budget of just over $14.5 million.

Taxpayers in the Town of Stettler will be paying a little more after town council finalized an operating budget of just over $14.5 million.

Council adopted a budget of $14,530,195 at its regular meeting May 4, up from last year’s $14,291,540 last year.

“Stettler residents and visitors enjoy a high level of services and community facilities while local property taxes have consistently remained below the provincial average for similarly-populated municipalities,” said Mayor Dick Richards.

“It’s a good-news budget, given tough economic times in Alberta,” said town manager Rob Stoutenberg.

Depending upon individual assessment within the residential class, majority of residential property owners will see a combined property tax increase of 1 to 3 per cent and commercial and industrial property owners will see taxes rise up to 2 per cent,

This level is expected to generate $986,315 for capital purposes and/or reserve transfers.

The budget will raise $3,989,326 in property taxation revenue for municipal purposes.

Property values for 2010 assessment purposes increased by $12.8 million (2.08 per cent) over 2009, including $8.35 million (1.35 per cent) which reflects growth of new construction and $4.5 million (.73 per cent) due to inflation.

While the town continues to receive funding from government for special projects and programs through various provincial and federal programs, local municipalities realize that they won’t be able to rely on this support as government restructures funding programs.

“The municipality, although optimistic, must be cautious in its expectation and/or reliance that future grants will be maintained at current levels,” said Stoutenberg.

For the coming year, the town remains committed to support several community partners which includes:

• Stettler and District Family and Community Support Services for $163,695 (consistent with 2009).

• Seniors housing support for $143,285 (up by $7,756 or 5.72 per cent).

• Stettler Public Library for $138,660 (up by $21,440 or 18.3 per cent).

• Stettler Town and Country Museum for $18,000 or 12.5 per cent).

• Stettler and District Hand-Bus for $15,794 (same level as 2009).

Financial savings have also been allocated for several projects that include:

• New fire truck for $100,000.

• Expansion of Stettler Municipal Library for $65,000.

• Design plans to upgrade/expand Stettler Recreation Centre for $62,500.

• Seniors’ centre upgrading or relocation for $50,000.

• Arts and culture projects for $15,000.

Additional funding has been budged for a new position for increased maintenance of parks.

With local funding, the new Stettler Sports Park featuring baseball and soccer fields is expected to be ready for spring 2011.

Funding has also been allocated for various on-going projects and programs.

The town has enhanced fund for RCMP police services to support local initiatives and peak periods.

Council continues to financially support physician recruitment and retention for the regional and strategic efforts to progress plans by the provincial government to upgrade Stettler Hospital and Care Centre.

Funding will also be available for the continuous need for affordable rental housing in the community.

Complete figures and details of the operating budget is available on the town’s website at www.stettler.net.