Sturgeon County builds for the future with Budget 2021
New budget focuses on roads, broadband, economic development, and safety
Sturgeon County is investing in new and better roads, faster internet, local economic development, and a safer community.
On December 8, Sturgeon County Council approved the 2021 Operating and Capital Budget, and approved in principle the 2022-2024 Proposed Operating Financial Forecast and 2022-2026 Proposed Capital Financial Forecast.
“This past year has brought many new challenges relating to higher unemployment, heavy rainfall, and far more residents working from home due to the pandemic. County residents expect Council to work together to create a balanced budget that provides the widest benefits to all people,” said Mayor Alanna Hnatiw. “Budget 2021 strikes this balance by investing in new roads, broadband connectivity, and providing the core services that are so vital to the health and safety of our residents today, while also focusing on economic development and job creation to secure our future.”
Key initiatives outlined in Sturgeon County’s 2021 Budget include:
- connecting to high-speed internet, creating new economic, education, community and health care service opportunities
- building and maintaining roads and bridges
- improving water resource management
- strengthening regional business sectors (agriculture, heavy industrial, cutting edge technology, resource extraction, and water infrastructure)
- coordinating and enhancing protective and emergency services, reducing rural crime and providing more online services, and
- supporting the efficient uses of energy resources (renewable/non-renewable) as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy
Although the County is increasing investment in these areas, there will be no increase to property taxes. Instead, the funding will come primarily from the first full year’s assessment of the Sturgeon Refinery, North West Redwater (NWR) Partnership.
“We are very grateful for the NWR Partnership and we will ensure that all County revenues are invested and managed in a thoughtful and careful manner,” said Mayor Hnatiw. “We also believe it is very important to invest in our economic future by using this additional money to address past infrastructure deficiencies and to plan for a future by supporting good jobs and generating economic growth to benefit all our residents.”
In addition to increased revenue from NWR, the County has also applied for more than $13 million in grants from other levels of government for initiatives such as roads, disaster recovery, and environmental sustainability.
The final municipal tax rate will be approved in the spring of 2020. At that time, residents will see updated amounts for the taxes levied for education and seniors housing, as regulated by the province.
More information on Budget 2021 is available at sturgeoncounty.ca/budget2021
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Backgrounder: Budget 2021
In 2021, Sturgeon County will invest more than $114 million into important initiatives like new and better roads, faster internet, local economic development, and a safer community. The Sturgeon County 2021 Growth Plan makes investments in six foundational priority initiatives that leverage infrastructure expertise and disciplined decision-making to help accelerate job creation, strengthen the economy.
More than $45 million will be invested to build, improve, and maintain local roads and bridges. This includes gravel road and shoulder stabilization, intersection improvements, and important work on drainage issues to help mitigate future flooding issues throughout the County.
Up to $7.3 million will be invested in broadband infrastructure for a pilot project to bring an area of the County to a minimum 50/10 Mbps service standard. The County will partner with a private Internet Service Provider(s) to incentivize timely delivery of service to the pilot project area, with a focus on meeting appropriate service standards, ensuring affordability to residents and business, and ensuring future scalability.
- Economic Development
Nearly $2 million will be spent to attract investment and new business within Sturgeon County. This includes new funding to help grow the Villeneuve Airport Area, the Sturgeon Industrial Park, and messaging on the County’s positive investment climate to local, national and international audiences.
$5.3 million has been dedicated to help keep residents and businesses safer. This includes funds for Sturgeon Victim Services, more firefighters, as well as the County’s increased responsibility for policing costs.
- Community Services
An additional $1.3 million will be spent to improve the day-to-day services that residents and businesses receive from Sturgeon County. This includes a variety of behind-the-scenes enhancements for business operations, utility delivery, building upgrades (e.g. HVAC) , as well as a new, more responsive online experience to deliver information in an attractive and easy to access manner.
- Environment and the New Economy
Sturgeon County will invest nearly $150,000 on new initiatives to improve its environmental planning initiatives and to attract environmental sound business development such as clean hydrogen. The County is well positioned to foster the massive economic and environmental potential within the clean hydrogen industry. A small investment is required to ensure the County is resourced to engage in hydrogen node development and complementary planning activities with partner governments, industry, and facilitators.
For a complete list of service enhancements and the detailed Budget 2021, download the Sturgeon County 2021 Proposed Operating & Capital Budget 2020.