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Posted on: November 23, 2018

2019 Budget Discussions

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On November 27 and 28, 2018, the Municipality of Jasper held public budget meetings where staff presented the proposed operating and capital budgets 2019 to Council and the public. The public meetings marked the beginning of formal budget discussions for Council. 

Of note in the 2019 proposal is a large debenture (borrowing) to finance renovations and upgrades at the Jasper Arena, Activity Centre and Aquatic Centre as well as a second debenture to replace key components at the waste water treatment plant. At following meetings, Council directed Administration to pare down the proposed capital budget list (from the initial proposal) and identify which items were critical to continue municipal service provision into 2019. 

Capital Budget

The capital projects list presented for discussion at the December 11, 2018 meeting includes all items related to the ice plant (ammonia room) relocation for the Jasper Arena as well as critical items to maintain current services. This information is based on a Recreation Facility Assessment prepared by Group 2 in 2016, which presented structural, mechanical, electrical and building code assessments of current municipal recreation facilities. 

  • The current proposed capital budget for 2019 (Dec. 18 Council agenda) includes a modification to the December 11 document to include $200,000 for the Aquatic Centre Universal and Accessible Change Rooms, bringing the Culture and Recreation capital budget amount to $5,620,770, with a debenture of $4,576,770, resulting in an annual debenture repayment of $274,831, representing a 1.19% increase to the operating budget in 2019, and a 2.41% increase in 2020 to repay the loan. 

The intent behind this pared down capital budget list is to allow critical work in the Jasper Arena to move ahead early in 2019 (subject to Council approval on Dec. 18) and defer the remaining items until a more thorough review of community recreational needs is completed. 

To that effect, Administration is proposing to spend $80,000 on a Recreation Program and Service Review before Council commits to further facility upgrades. The intent is to allow Council and members of the public to have a community conversation around which recreational services should be offered in Jasper, which ones should no longer be offered, and which new services should be considered. This process would ensure Council has the right information to make good decisions on how to spend municipal dollars to upgrade recreation facilities. This exercise would take place in the first part of 2019.

Utility Fees 2019

Each year, Council must pass a utility rates bylaw to establish the new rates for the upcoming year. Utility services (including water, sewer, garbage and recycling) are based on a user-pay system, where all expenses related to providing these services, including infrastructure upgrades, are covered by user fees as opposed to property taxes. 

This year’s proposal includes a $16,109 increase to maintain current service levels for water, sewer, garbage and recycling; an increase of $131,794 to finance a debenture (borrowing) for necessary upgrades at the waste water treatment plant; and an increase to transfers to restricted reserves (the Municipality’s savings account) in the amount of $131,200. Council directed Administration to remove the Environmental Stewardship program funding from the proposed utility rates; Council will consider this item further during the operating budget discussions.

The estimated average utility bill for residential properties would increase by 6.8% or $11.63 in 2019 (subject to final approval by Council).

View the December 18, 2018 Council agenda package (PDF)

Download the original proposed budget package (PDF)  Nov. 27, 2018

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