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Posted on: December 12, 2017

2018 BUDGET APPROVED; TAX INCREASE SET AT 3.06%

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2018 BUDGET APPROVED; TAX INCREASE SET AT 3.06%
Council discussed revisions made to the draft budget during the November deliberations, made a few last changes, and approved the revised 2018 budget at last night’s Council meeting.
Maintaining service levels, promoting a proactive infrastructure program that considers both current and future requirements of our growing town are key goals of the 2018 budget.
The Town’s total expenditures for 2018 is $53 million, with $27.2 million in offsetting revenues, resulting in $25.8 million in municipal property taxes to achieve a balanced budget. The property tax increase of 3.06% is estimated to impact the average residential property by $5.41 per month, or $65 for the year.
The Town’s capital program addresses transportation needs and is primarily funded by off-site levies (developer-paid) and grants, with only $100,000 from property taxes.
Council approved $21.8 million in capital projects:
Bow River Bridge crossing and connections next steps: $15.8
Local Transit Service: $7m deferred until decision made on service delivery model
Horse Creek Rail Pedestrian Crossing: $1.4
George Fox Trail predesign/Quigley Dr West Edge pedestrian crossing: $0.4
Centre Ave expansion predesign: $0.3
Glenhill bridge accessibility ramps: $0.2
Water capacity upgrades: $1.5
Fleet and equipment: $0.6
Riverview Drive surface upgrade: $0.5
Facilities Lifecycling- including RancheHouse, Town shop: $0.3
CP Rail Fencing downtown: $0.2
Total Capital Projects: $21.8

The 2018 budget includes 1.3% cost of living and market adjustments for non-union staff and funding for new positions: a RancheHouse manager, four firefighters, one assessor, one communications advisor, one development enforcement officer, a parks operator, RCMP detachment clerk/analyst, and an increase in hours for some part-time positions. The budget also supports three additional RCMP officers. Council also deferred market adjustments for management staff, reducing the budget by $50,000.

Council also approved a number of fee increases:
Sewer: increased $1.20 per year
Water: increased $1.20 per year
Waste and Recycling collection: increase to $21.50 — 5% or $1 per month
Pay-as-you-Throw rate: increase to $3 per bag — 50% or $1 per bag

The Town supports a variety of community groups and projects. These annual grants are part of the 2018 Budget, for a total of $310,154:
Community Grants program: $65,000
Community Association grants: $5,000
Boys and Girls Club: $35,000
Cochrane Activettes: $15,000
Cochrane and Area Humane Society: $30,000
Stockmens’ Memorial Foundation: $38,500
Cochrane Tourism Association: $48,134
Bow River Basin Council: $5,000
Jumping Pound Creek Watershed Partnership: $5,000
Citizens on Patrol: $3,520
Victim Services: $60,000


A grant of $598,416 to the Cochrane Public Library was approved that includes support for additional weekday evening hours; Rockyview Regional Handibus Society was approved for a grant of $189,504.
Council received the draft 2018 budget at the end of October. Administration solicited questions and feedback from the community until the end of November. All feedback was provided to Council before their deliberations.
Full budget documents will be available next week once all updates are completed: cochrane.ca/Budget.

Budget documents
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