County adopts $33M budget

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County has approved its 2019 operating budget at just over $33 million.

At its regular meeting April 24, council adopted a budget of $33,078,946, up from $32,086,936 from 2018.

“It indicates we’re in good financial shape,” acting reeve Ken Matthews says.

“We look forward to complete projects and hopefully start new projects.”

It will be business as usual for the county.

“Current service levels will be maintained,” says Heather Nanninga, director of corporate services.

“Salaries and wages were adjusted with a 3 per cent cost of living allowance increase.”

The number reflects the 2018 Consumer Price Index increases for Alberta and Edmonton, she notes.

Wages, salaries and benefits also increase to support two added grant-funded positions.

Nanninga notes several benefits and changes to the budget.

Revenue from user fees and sales of goods is expected to increase.

The expected revenue comes from fuel sales at the High Prairie Airport after the county took over that responsibility.

Some of that revenue will be offset with additional expenses for fuel purchases.

Funds for the cost of materials, goods and contracts is up.

“That is due largely due to an increase in our expected contracted services lines for several projects,” Nanninga says.

She notes that includes the county’s plans to reclaim the Little Smoky gravel pit, pave and patch additional roads and complete drainage maintenance projects.

The cost of public works administration and labour decreased to reflect an expected vacancy.

However, the cost of services will increase for planned projects.

Nanninga notes the cost of council is decreasing.

Council costs are budgeted at $646,500, down from $665,000 in 2018.

Government transfers from operating decreased from 2018 as several grant- funded projects are either completed or winding down, Nanninga states.

Full budget information is available on the county website.

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