by Colin Smith
Sturgeon County residents will see no municipal property tax increase next year following adoption of the 2019 budget by the County Council on December 11.
“I am pleased we were able to avoid a tax increase, while managing to maintain, and in some areas, increase service levels,” said County Mayor Alanna Hnatiw. “With the current state of the economy, it’s necessary that we reduce financial strain where we can.”
Approval of the operating and capital budgets followed a Council review and analysis of submissions from Administration over a three-day period in early October, followed by three days of deliberations in late November.
The budget places an emphasis on infrastructure, with planning for investments in roads and bridges, as well as drainage through the drainage master plan.
There is also a focus on public safety, with initiatives next year to include two peace officers, a water tanker truck for Fire Services and increased roadside brushing.
A census is also planned for 2019.
“It is our job as Council to ask questions and make tough decisions to ensure that Sturgeon County remains competitive and fiscally responsible,” said Hnatiw. “We have an obligation to our residents.”
The final municipal tax rates will be set in the spring. Included in residents’ bills will be provincially regulated amounts for the education and seniors’ housing levies.
Also, utility fees for water and wastewater management will increase by about $58 per year for the average residential utility customer in 2019.
The Sturgeon County 2019 Operating/Capital Budget document will be available online at www.sturgeoncounty.ca in mid-January.