The Ponoka Civic Centre. (File photo)

The Ponoka Civic Centre. (File photo)

Ponoka town council approves 2022 capital, operating budgets

Ponoka town council approved the 2022 capital and operating budgets at its regular meeting last week.

“During budget deliberations, council and administration worked to find efficiencies and arrive at a fiscally responsible budget,” said chief administrative officer Sandra Lund in a press release.

The total amount of the 2022 budget is $26,942,490, which includes an operating budget of $20,165,130 and a capital budget of $6,777,360.

After incorporating growth of $19.8 million in property value assessments for residential and commercial properties in Ponoka, the municipal portion of property taxes to fund the budget equates to an annual increase of $23 per $100,000 of the assessed property value for residential properties, and $30 per $100,000 of the assessed value for commercial properties.

This is equivalent to a three per cent increase in municipal property tax revenue for 2022 which helps offset rising costs of inflation, including increasing costs for fuel, transportation and utilities, and it ensures continued reliable delivery of services is supported.

Infrastructure renewal

The town says the 2022 budget delivers on key priorities outlined in the town’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan by investing in the maintenance and improvement of existing infrastructure in Ponoka.

“By continuing to invest in Ponoka’s infrastructure, the 2022 budget will help drive future growth and enhance the quality of life that our citizens enjoy,” said Lund.

Capital and operating projects planned for 2022 include:

– 51 Ave. redevelopment: Between 50 and 51 St., including underground and surface infrastructure, and streetscape improvements;

– Pavement and Concrete Improvement Program: Includes annual maintenance and improvement of town roadways and sidewalks throughout Ponoka;

– A new community Peace Officer program;

– New skateboard park design: To design an expanded multi-use skateboard park. Public consultation is planned;

– Ponoka Aquaplex and Arena Complex improvements;

– Sports fields improvements: Includes bleacher replacements, dugout repairs, and shale and fencing repairs to ball diamonds and sports fields in the river valley on 46 St.;

– Tennis court facility resurfacing;

– Dog park design project: Construction of the new park will depend on future consideration and approval of the design, location and budget by council;

– Enhancement of 49 St. parking lot and trail connection;

– Park design improvements: Includes Lions Centennial Park and a new civic plaza design at 48 Ave. and 51 St. that would offer a central downtown gathering space for citizens. Public consultation is planned in 2022.

The town says the 2022 budget aligns with the results of the town’s annual public consultation process, which included “Coffee with Council” events, a virtual budget consultation open house and a citizen input survey.

“Citizen input is an important part of the budget process,” said Lund.

“Priorities identified in the budget survey results were considered and addressed in the 2022 budget through projects, such as planned parks and trail improvements, planning for a new dog park, upgrades to the arena and Aquaplex, improvements to roads and sidewalks throughout Ponoka and planning for improvements to the Town’s Wastewater Treatment Facility and Waste Transfer Station.”

Town of Ponoka