Edson Town Council held their annual budget workshop on October 19th, 2019. Administration presented Council with departmental operational budget requests, a capital budget plan, reserve fund updates, and a number of optional items for review. Council is considering a plan with the equivalent of a 5% tax increase for 2020. Some of that will be collected through taxation, with other portions coming through utilities. Highlights of the proposed changes are listed below.
- Water and Sewer Fees – An increase in water rates (2.2%) and sewer rates (4.4%) is being recommended for 2020. The new Asset Management Plan suggests an annual increase to utility rates to set aside funds for future infrastructure needs.
- Waste Collection Fees - The waste collection charge will be increased $0.50 per month to reflect the agreed upon inflationary contract increase with GFL for curbside pickup.
- Recycling Fees – It is being recommended that the cost of recycling is moved from taxation to utility bills. Recycling is considered a part of Waste Management. As such, the recycling costs should be reflected in Town utilities rather than being funded through taxation. This will also ensure all properties in town are contributing to the costs of recycling, including those that are tax exempt.
Under this plan, the average household can expect an increase of about $2.00/month to their utility bills, plus the additional $9.00 for recycling. Commercial recycling fees will be $15/month.
Several capital projects were discussed for the 2020 budget including:
- $1,200,000 towards starting a road re-capping project.
- $850,000 for provincially mandated ground monitoring and performance assessments on the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
- $1,150,000 for the Vision Park Well and Washroom Facility.
- $200,000 for General Vision Park Upgrades.
- $645,000 towards the Snow Dump.
- $50,000 for fencing for a new dog park location.
A full list can be found in the information package from the meeting at https://edson.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Org=Cal&Id=335
The proposed budget uses a 2.05% municipal tax increase; however, individual tax levies will be dependent on property assessments. Without moving recycling to utilities, this increase would be closer to 5%.
This increase allows the Town to maintain current service levels, as well as includes costs associated with the anticipated federal carbon tax increases and other inflationary pressures.
This is a proposal only and both Administration and Council will continue to work on possible adjustments and recommendations prior to the finalization of the budget in December.
Residents will have a chance to have a say in the budget process through the budget engagement tool being launched at the end of the month. This will be available at www.edson.ca/budget.
The engagement tool will take residents through the budget, provide information, and allow taxpayers to indicate their preferred allocation of tax dollars. There is also opportunity to provide general feedback for each department. That information will then be compiled and presented to Council prior to final budget approval
A public information session with Council is also being planned in the coming weeks to answer questions and hear feedback on the proposed budget.
In the meantime, the Budget Workshop is available to view below, on our YouTube Channel, or the Town of Edson Facebook page.