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Town council approves 2021 capital and operating budgets

Ponoka town council approved the 2021 capital and operating budgets at its regular meeting last week. The total amount of the 2021 Budget is $26,598,270, which includes an operating budget of $19,408,070 and a capital budget of $7,190,200.

“This is a fiscally responsible budget that recognizes our economy is still struggling,” said Mayor Rick Bonnet in a press release.

“It balances the town’s and council’s commitment to continue carefully managing spending and keeping taxes as low as possible with the need for a very minimal tax increase to cover the cost of inflation this year while continuing to focus on growth, investing in key infrastructure, and maintaining the many essential services our citizens rely on.

Council will consider third reading of the tax rate bylaw on May 11.

After incorporating current property value assessments for residential and commercial properties in Ponoka, the proposed municipal portion of property taxes for 2021 equates to an increase of about $11 per $100,000 of assessment for residential properties, and $15 per $100,000 of assessment for commercial properties.

That is equivalent to a 1.2 per cent increase in municipal property tax revenue for 2021, although not all residents would see an increase on their property tax bill.

Depending on individual property value assessments, some residents may see a slight decrease, a slight increase or almost no change at all.

Overall, residential property assessment increased by $2.5 million while non-residential assessment decreased by $2.8 million for an overall decrease of $0.3 million in 2021 taxable assessment.

“With provincial grant funding being cut by 25 per cent over the next three years and the current Municipal Sustainability Initiative grant program ending in three years with no clear replacement in sight, the future of provincial grant funding to municipalities is uncertain,” said Town of Ponoka Chief Administrative Officer Sandra Lund.

“That is why any anticipated surplus left over from the 2020 Town Budget is expected to be transferred to reserves to help cover future infrastructure replacement and maintenance costs so that we can continue to maintain our infrastructure and facilities despite having reduced grant funding to rely on.”

Capital and infrastructure projects planned for 2021 include:

– Redevelopment of 51 Avenue between 50 and 51 Street;

– Paving and concrete replacement and repairs on numerous streets throughout Ponoka;

– Roadway and drainage rehabilitation and improvements on 64 Street at the south end of the Froman Business Park between 42 and 44 Avenue;

– Maintenance Improvements to the arena and Aquaplex;

– Trail improvements and wayfinding signage;

– Park design improvements at Lions Centennial Park and design improvements for an expanded skate board park and pump track. Construction would occur in the future as determined through the establishment of capital priorities;

– Completion of a comprehensive site master plan for a Community Wellness Centre on the existing Arena land, and

-Waterworks and electrical maintenance improvements.

To view the full release, visit www.ponoka.ca.

– Submitted by the Town of Ponoka

Town of Ponoka