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Welcome back fellow residents of White City (and those reading from the surrounding area) for the December 2022 edition of the White City Councillor Blog. This month’s blog will focus on the 2023 Annual Budget. 

The 2023 Annual Budget process kicked off in September 2022. When starting the budget process the Town has been considering a number of factors including, but not limited to:

  1. 2022-2025 Strategic Plan;
  2. Tangible Capital Asset Plans;
  3. Additional Direction from Town Council;
  4. Market Factors, such as inflation; 
  5. Basic Municipal Service Provision; and
  6. Anticipated Growth.

With these factors in mind, administration began compiling the Town’s budget using zero-based budgeting.  Zero based budgeting is a technique where all expenses must be justified for a new period or year starting from zero, versus starting with the previous budget and adjusting it as needed.

After multiple rounds of drafts and input from Council, the initial public presentation of the 2023 Annual Budget was presented at the November 28, 2022 Committee of the Whole Meeting.  At this meeting, the Committee recommended adoption of the budget to council.  The recommended budget includes operating and capital expenditures and municipal tax rates: 

  • operating revenues of $8.8M;
  • operating expenditures of $8.5M;
  • capital expenditures of $7.1M;
  • a $100.00 increase to the municipal base tax; and 
  • NO INCREASE to the municipal mill rate.

The recommended budget will result in a flat $100 municipal tax increase for the majority of properties.  Please note that, if your property was recently reassessed by SAMA, the overall change to your municipal taxes may be different.  It’s also important to note that the Town sets municipal tax policy, which makes up one part of your property taxes.  The other portion is the education portion, and the 2023 provincial education mill rate will not be known until March 2023 and may have additional impacts to your overall property tax.

White City’s municipal base tax is intended to look at the base services provided to the municipality as a whole and equally distribute among the number of properties in the Town. These base services include items such as RCMP contract fees, municipal insurance costs, emergency management organization expenses, fire services, road maintenance, snow clearing, solid waste management and park maintenance fees. 

The 2023 Annual Budget also continues to allocate a recreation portion from the base tax of $100 per property.  The funds collected from this portion are deposited into a specific Recreation Reserve where levy funds will be allocated for the planning, development, and construction of a Multi-Use Recreation Centre within the community.

Council made the decision to implement a Recreation Levy in 2022 to begin saving to fund the proposed recreation facility.  Based on the public engagement conducted in the Spring of 2021, 69% of respondents indicated a preference of, at minimum, an annual property tax increase per household between $100-$300 per year.  Council recognizes the importance of recreation services and facilities for our current residents and the appeal for future residents.  

In the upcoming year just a few of projects the Town will focus on includes: 

  • funding to the WCRM158 Wastewater Management Authority to continue the Wastewater Expansion Project and ensure sufficient effluent management and infrastructure to support growth in the region;
  • the asset renewal of equipment to ensure efficient, consistent and dependable services to residents;
  • an increase in the amount of recreation and culture programming and events provided to all demographics of our community;
  • increased communications and public engagement with residents; and
  • improved bylaw enforcement with the introduction of a dedicated Community Safety Officer to address bylaw issues and select provincial statues, including addressing speeding and other traffic concerns within the community.

If you would like more information on the budget or how tax changes were determined, we encourage you to reach out to a member of Council or the town office for more information. The recommended budget will be presented for approval at the 7:00 p.m. December 12, 2022 Regular Council Meeting. Council meetings are open to the public and held at White City Council Chambers, 14 Ramm Avenue East. If you have any questions, have a comment, want more information, or want to suggest a topic for a future blog please email or call 306-781-2355 – we look forward to hearing from you!

- Mayor Brian Fergusson

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