After two days of budget deliberations, Ponoka town council approved the 2023 Town of Ponoka interim budget at their regular meeting Nov. 8.
Town chief administrative officer (CAO) Sandra Lund said the budget delivers on key priorities while carefully managing spending.
The total amount of the 2023 interim budget is $26,456,980, which includes an operating budget of $20,569,480 and a capital budget of $5,887,500.
The interim budget doesn’t yet factor in property assessment values which only become available in the spring.
Town council will have the opportunity to review the 2023 budget again prior to adopting the final budget in the spring.
Based on the current interim budget, the municipal portion of property taxes for 2023 is projected to equate to a monthly increase of about $2.68 per $100,000 of residential property value assessment, and $3.49 per $100,000 of commercial property value assessment.
That is equivalent to a four per cent municipal property tax increase.
“The town is committed to maintaining and replacing key infrastructure each year as determined by our Asset Management Plan,” said Ponoka Mayor Kevin Ferguson in a release.
The town says the majority of capital and infrastructure projects in the budget are funded through annual provincial and federal grant funding, which has been reduced by about $1 million this year.
Some of the projects planned for 2023 include:
• Ponoka’s Annual Pavement and Concrete Improvement Program.
• New Dog Park – Once a second round of public consultation is completed this fall on the design of the new dog park, construction of the new park is planned for 2023 on the east side of 49 Street on land acquired by the town across from the Town of Ponoka Operations Centre;
• Ponoka Aquaplex Improvements – Will include exterior improvements and renovations to the washrooms and multi-purpose room to optimize the functionality of the building for visitors and facility users;
• Wayfinding Signage – The town’s new wayfinding signage program that launched in 2022 will be expanded to include more signage in the downtown area, industrial park and highway corridors;
• Lions Centennial Park Upgrades – Will include a new t-shaped dock for the fishing pond which is accessible to people with mobility challenges; and park design improvements that will be guided by public consultation in 2023. Construction will occur in the future based on design and funding approval by town council;
• Waterworks and electrical system improvements – Including ongoing equipment rehabilitation at town pump stations and reservoirs, ongoing replacement of electrical meters to ensure optimum accuracy and operation in compliance with federal regulations; and planning and analysis for future improvements to the town’s Wastewater Treatment System; and
• Completion of 51 Avenue redevelopment – Between 50 and 51 Street, including redevelopment and design improvements to the municipal parking lot on the south side of 51 Avenue; a second layer of asphalt paving and line marking; installation of permanent sidewalks, landscaping, benches and garbage receptacles.
The 2023 interim budget aligns with the results of the town’s annual public consultation process, which included a statistically-valid Citizen Satisfaction Survey, Coffee with Council events, an online budget open house and a Citizen Input Survey that invited input from citizens who weren’t randomly selected to participate in the Citizen Satisfaction Survey.
“I think this interim budget does a very good job of balancing the needs of our community while positioning Ponoka for continued growth and success,” said Ferguson.