(Cochrane, AB) – Following presentations, public engagement, information sessions and deliberations, Cochrane Council adopted the 2023-2025 operating and capital budgets.
The budget delivers on Council’s Strategic Plan, reflects community feedback, and recognizes the inflationary cost associated with providing services and delivering on capital projects.
“As a Council, we passed a budget that provides a path forward, building on Cochrane’s strengths while addressing some very real challenges,” said Mayor Jeff Genung. “The Strategic Plan set a clear vision for the future of Cochrane, and this budget helps to ensure that we deliver on that vision, while recognizing our economic realities.”
The budget includes a three-year operating forecast outlining a path to sustainable service delivery and a 10-year capital plan that contains a number of critical infrastructures investments. It balances the pressure of inflation and growth with the important work initiated last year to create a resilient and capable organization.
The budget includes a 2023 operating budget of $74.3 million and a $86 million capital budget for 2023-2025. Through direction received from Council, Administration reduced the initial draft budget from a proposed 7.6% tax increase to a 3.7% tax increase for 2023 – an increase of $7.67 per month for the average household. The 2022 surplus was used to smooth inflationary pressures, which will need to be accounted for in future years.
Currently, Cochrane has one of the lowest operating expenditures per dwelling unit in Alberta. The increase reflects several uncontrollable cost increases such as pre-bargained union staff increases, a decrease in provincial government grants and the increased cost of RCMP services as a result of the federal government union negotiations. It also reflects significant increases in inflationary costs related to the procurement of goods and services, fuel costs required to operate municipal equipment, and utility costs to heat and power facilities.
The capital budget reflects the continued investment in our community, with a significant focus on transportation and utility-related infrastructure. This includes Phase 3 and 4 of the Centre Avenue Improvements, wastewater pipeline twinning and Quigley Drive upgrades.
Specific tax rate impacts will vary by property type depending on the assessed value of a home or business, as well as next year’s provincial education property tax rate, which will be finalized in the first half of 2023.
More information is available at cochrane.ca/Budget.