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Council approves $718 million for 2020 Municipal Budget

PHOTO. Jubilee Centre. Sarah Anderson. REPORTER.

Council has approved a $718 million 2020 Municipal Budget.

It is a reduction by $36 million from the 2019 budget.

The budget allocates $431 million for operations, $191 million for capital purposes and reserves and $$96 million for committed undrawn debt reduction.

Support for the Community Investment Program will increase by $43 million. Council recognized an increased need for direct community support with a total investment of $77 million into the program.

With a focus on affordable living, revitalizing downtown and the waterfront, improving the conditions of the region’s roads and transit network, maintaining core services and programs, continuing major capital projects and increasing financial support for community organizations and programming the budget is aligned with the 2018 – 2021 strategic plan.

In a press release. Mayor Don Scott thanked everyone who participated in this year’s budget deliberations.

“Budget meetings are an opportunity for the community to come together and discuss our shared path forward,” said Mayor Don Scott. “With your input, Council has passed a budget that will build a strong Wood Buffalo by advancing the region’s strategic priorities, reducing the tax ratio and supporting local quality of life.”  

CAO Annette Antoniak said in a press release that the budget contributes to their efforts of reducing the tax-ratio in a measured manner with a fiscal plan.

“Since introducing zero-based budgeting in 2017, our budget has decreased by $162 million. I’d like to thank everyone who has made this possible, especially municipal staff who have worked diligently to find efficiencies and savings.”  

The budget also includes conditional funding for Keyano College’s new $16.9-million art gallery as well as a portion of Keyano Theatres annual operations.

Those interested learning more about the budget can find highlights on the municipality’s website with videos of all the budget meetings also available.