County Budget Planning
Maintaining a Fiscally Healthy Region
Following considerable debate and deliberation, Lac Ste. Anne County Council passed the 2021 Capital and Operating Budgets at its regular Council session on Thursday, April 22, 2021. These budgets reflect the priorities of Council as identified during strategic planning discussions, including the mandate to hold the line on tax rates. The Council-approved budget reflects a 0% increase to the mill rate on residential improved, commercial and non-residential classes, and a 10% increase for farmland and vacant properties.
The 2021 budget shows $25,282,948 in operating expenditures and $10,096,715 in capital expenditures.
Overview of Operating and Capital Budgets
The interim operating budget is approved in December of each year, and is the first stage of a two-stage process that authorizes the County to spend on approved projects and conduct operations as of January 1, 2021.
Stage two involves the approval of the final budgets and tax rates, and takes place during the following spring when the Province sets the property tax levy for education purposes, and when property assessment values have been confirmed.
The $25,282,948 operating budget is balanced; strikes a balance between economic challenges and the County’s core mandate to fund the delivery of essential services. While the budget reflects a hold on the salary grid, it also accommodates a couple of new roles: an Economic Development Officer (in alignment with growth goals as laid out in the County’s Strategic Plan); and a Facility Operator (hired as a cost-saving measure).
Also proposed in the 2021 budget in accordance with the Strategic Plan were infrastructure studies that would better equip the County to take inventory and plan for a long-term infrastructure strategy.
The 2021 capital budget is $10,096,715. Highlights of the capital budget include:
Steady investment in roads, bridges and infrastructure with strategic leverage of federal and provincial grant dollars
Investment in recreation including a sani dump station and new playgrounds at two County campgrounds
Structures to accommodate field staff (Ag Services, Shop Yard and Paddle River Dam Campground Office)
Common Questions About the 2021 Budget
The Approved 2021 Capital Budget with 2020 Carry Forwards is available for viewing and download in PDF format on this page.
What type of costs are included in this line? In other words, what are contracted services?
Contracted services relate to different areas of municipal administration and operations wherein workers with specialized skills are engaged to provide essential services on behalf of the County. These services include equipment repairs and maintenance; utilities management; seasonal project work such as backhoe operation or gravel hauling for the County’s annual gravel program.
Additionally, technical services such as engineering, legal and auditing are routinely contracted by the County due to the impracticality or expense of performing these types of tasks internally.
The increase between the 2020 actual and 2021 budget relates to some projects not being completed — and overall cost reductions — due primarily to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Comparing the 2021 budget against 2020, the increase is $332,374. This amount reflects an increase in legal costs and insurance premiums; and a transfer to reserves in the amount of $117,000 to assist with future unspecified County projects.
The County has increased the 2021 administration budget allotment in anticipation of relaxed COVID-19 restrictions that would allow for for training courses and conferences. Additionally, software investments are being made to facilitate the flow of information within the County, and to help provide more timely and efficient reporting.
Lastly, in 2020 the County received an additional $333,000 in revenue that was not budgeted for which decreases the net expenses for Administration. This is not expected in the 2021 budget.
A dedicated Economic Development role has been established to help encourage business growth and promote Lac Ste. Anne County as an accessible and desirable work/live/play region adjacent to Alberta’s capital city. The primary goal of this activity is to create a larger assessment base to generate more tax revenue.
Also included is a contribution to the Onoway Regional Medical Clinic that, along with similar contributions from partner municipalities, helps steward the growth of this essential service to the benefit of County ratepayers and the region at large.
The County is responsible for 31 buildings and six towers (which also have buildings). Currently, it falls upon multiple departments like Finance, Engineering and Transportation to maintain these buildings. Whenever safety inspections and general upkeep issues arise, valuable time is taken away from County staff whose core roles are not maximized through peripheral maintenance duties. Through the Facilities maintenance role the County seeks to address this inefficiency.
During recruitment for this new role, the County will give preference to an applicant who possesses a trade in HVAC, Electrical, Carpentry or similar.
The salary shown covers this new position, plus an amount for their direct supervisor, in addition to consideration for other ad hoc assistance (such as professional tradespeople) that may be required.
Farmland shows an increase of 10%. The County’s farmland assessment per quarter section is on average $15,000 which represents an increase to your tax bill of $18.44 annually.
Budget Planning Resources
County Budget Planning Documents
2021 Property Tax Distribution
Each year, your tax dollars go toward a variety of municipal departments including Community Services, Public Works, Planning & Development, Enforcement, Fire Services and Agricultural Services and Economic Development. Essential services are provided by these departments year-round, and include solid waste utility management, road and infrastructure maintenance, weed control, safety services, community programs and more.
The following chart illustrates the total tax distribution for the 2021 tax year.
2021 Operating Budget Revenue by Source
The following chart shows the breakdown of the total County operating budget including services, utilities and other self-supported areas. The percentages illustrate that revenues and expenditures equal each other and result in a balanced budget. The County's operating budget includes items of revenue, recoveries and expenditures relating to ongoing operations; the budget amount funded from property taxes after expenditures have been subtracted from revenues; and programs funded mainly by revenues from their own operations.
The Municipal Government Act requires County Council to adopt a balanced operating budget.
2021 Operating Budget Expenses by Function
The following chart illustrates the how the budget was allocated to the different functions provided by Lac Ste. Anne County and its departments. Essential services are provided by these departments year-round, and include solid waste utility management, road and infrastructure maintenance, weed control, safety services, community programs and more.
How Your Tax Dollar is Spent
The following chart shows the breakdown by percentage of how each tax dollar is allocated to a respective department or requisition.