Council adopts 2024-2026 budget

Banner saying Budget with a scenic photo of a park in Cochrane

(Cochrane, AB) – Council announced the approval of the 2024-2026 budget during the regular Council meeting on December 11. The budget, totaling $82.8 million for municipal operations and $135 million for capital projects over three years, reflects a thoughtful balance between maintaining service levels, fostering sustainable growth, and acknowledging the economic challenges faced by residents.

To align with the approved budget, Council endorsed a municipal tax revenue increase of $1,275,000 (or 3.63%) to meet the financial demands. Mayor Genung acknowledged the economic realities affecting the community, emphasizing the commitment to fiscal responsibility amidst the challenging budget year.

"Last year Council made a significant investment in our community as we recognized the inflationary costs associated with providing services and delivering on critical capital projects,” said Mayor Genung, Town of Cochrane. “This budget continues to respond to the inflationary pressures that all municipalities are experiencing, while ensuring we can continue to deliver the services and projects that our community requires.”

The budget prioritizes investments in infrastructure, maintaining service levels, ensuring long-term financial viability and enhancing organizational resiliency. With a tax revenue requirement increase of 3.63%, the average impact on residential properties (assessed at $561,200) is approximately $8.17 per month in 2024.

Council, in collaboration with Administration, adhered to four key principles when preparing the budget: maintaining current service levels, accounting for a 3% inflation rate, incorporating a 3.87% assessment growth, and maintaining Provincial grants at the 2023 funding level.

Public input played a crucial role in shaping the budget, with a randomized survey indicating that 50% of respondents preferred a tax increase to maintain or increase services. The top priorities identified by residents included long-term sustainability (29%), planning for future growth (23%), and finding ways to lower future property taxes (14%).

Investing in public safety and service delivery, the operating budget includes funding for a number of new positions, including four full-time firefighters, an RCMP officer, parks staff and more. Key investments in the capital budget include projects such as 5th Avenue servicing, Horse Creek Sports Park master plan, affordable housing action plan, James Walker Trail stage 3, Cochrane app/alerting system, and River Heights pump station and water storage expansion.

During budget deliberations, Council recommended amendments include increasing security coverage at The Station during weekdays and adding four firefighters, with hiring deferred to Q2 2024. Despite these adjustments leading to a slight increase in the revenue requirement, the approved rate for 2024 stands at 3.63%.

“Council remains committed to the strategic path outlined in the three-year operating forecast, ensuring services remain resilient and responsive to the community's evolving needs,” added Genung.

No changes were recommended to the capital budget or service fees during deliberations. The final budget book will be available in the first quarter of 2024. For further information, visit

— 30 —