Whether the Town of Ponoka gets enough ‘bang for its buck’ under its Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) membership was discussed during town council March 26.
File photo

Town of Ponoka approves interim budgets with ‘very minimal tax increase’

Ponoka town council approved its 2021 interim capital and operating budgets during their regular council meeting on Nov.24, following two days of budget deliberations on Nov. 18 and 19.

The total amount of the interim budget is $27,045,310, which includes an operating budget of $19,265,910 and a capital budget of $7,779,400, according to a news release.

The town estimates the 2021 municipal property tax increase may be about 1.2 per cent, but explains it’s too early to say for certain as the exact rate can’t be calculated until property tax assessments are completed in the spring. The town will also review the 2021 budget prior to adopting the final budget.

“This is a fiscally responsible budget that recognizes the challenges facing our economy,” said Mayor Rick Bonnett in the release.

“It balances the need to continue carefully managing spending and to keep 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 day-to-day essential services our citizens rely on.”

“This budget recognizes that our economy is still struggling while also positioning our community to grow and thrive and develop opportunities for the future,” said Sandra Lund, interim CAO.

“It also aligns very well with Council’s strategic priorities for growth, the economic health of our community, and enhanced quality of life for our citizens.”

Lund says the majority of capital and infrastructure projects in the budget are funded through provincial and federal grant funding.

Capital and infrastructure projects planned for 2021 include:

  • Redevelopment of 51 Ave. between 50 and 51 St. including redevelopment of underground and surface infrastructure and streetscape design;
  • Roadway and drainage rehabilitation and improvements on 64 St. at the south end of the Froman Business Park between 42 and 44 Ave., completing a three-year redevelopment project that will include a newly paved roadway;
  • Paving and concrete replacement and repairs on numerous streets throughout Ponoka as part of the town’s annual Roadway Infrastructure Improvement Program;
  • A new ice plant at the Ponoka Arena Complex replacing the existing ice plant which has reached the end of its lifecycle. The new plant will be located in an exterior building for improved safety, which also allows it to be moved once a new Community Wellness Centre is constructed;
  • Trail improvements and wayfinding signage that will include a new paved walking trail along 50 St. and Hwy. 53 that directly connects the pedestrian bridge located across from the Battle River Medical Clinic to the arena (and future Community Wellness Centre);
  • Park design improvements at Lions Centennial Park and for an expanded skate board park and pump track. The new park design improvements will include public consultation. Construction will occur in the future based on preferred designs;
  • Completion of a comprehensive site master plan for a Community Wellness Centre in Ponoka, using all existing and new information. A wellness centre continues to be a key town council priority for future community growth. The master plan will determine the overall placement of site improvements, including surface improvements, buildings, utilities and other site features;
  • Maintenance improvements to the arena and Aquaplex which include resurfacing the pool deck and wading pool and spatial planning at the Aquaplex to allow for better utilization of lobby and office space at the facility; and
  • Waterworks and electrical maintenance improvements, including equipment rehabilitation at town pump stations and reservoirs, ongoing sanitary sewer system maintenance, and planning and analysis for future improvements to the town’s sewage treatment plant.

Council approved the transfer of $261,560 from the 2019 operating surplus to help minimize the municipal property tax increase for 2021. Operational costs in the budget were also offset by $150,000 from the Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST), a provincial grant that reimburses municipalities for lost revenue and expenditures related to COVID-19.

The town states that the interim budgets align with feedback receives from residents during its annual consultation process.

The top priorities identified from the consultation included new or improved recreation or sports facilities; improving and maintaining Town infrastructure; economic development and growth; and fiscal responsibility.

– With a file from the Town of Ponoka

READ MORE: Ponoka mayor and council takes on province for recreation funding

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Town of Ponoka

Just Posted

(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
AHS: Immunization is our greatest protection against COVID-19

Everyone is at risk of getting sick with COVID-19. As we’ve seen… Continue reading

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

Premier Jason Kenney says the provincial government is doing everything it can to encourage Albertans to get vaccinated. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Travel prizes added to Alberta’s vaccine lottery

More than 40 travel rewards available for those who are fully vaccinated

Three calves were recently shot dead in Lacombe County near Mirror. (Photo from Facebook)
Calves shot and left for dead in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP investigating three shootings

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Most Read