In accordance with the Municipal Government Act, Sections 242 & 245; County Council approves an Operating and Capital Budget on an annual basis.
- The Operating Budget is currently done on an annual basis, taking into account up-coming operating projects and is calculated on a line-by-line item basis, compared to using gross figures to determine the budget. The budget takes into account the current economic conditions, provincial policy changes, and service needs within the County. Starting in 2017, the County plans to implement a 3-year Operating Budget.
- There is currently a 20-year Capital Plan, which assists in the development of the annual capital budget, outlining the capital replacement plan during the 20-year period. This 20-year Capital Plan is currently funded by capital reserves and projected contributions to the capital reserves. This methodology of long-term budgeting allows for stable tax rates to fund capital purchases, compared to significant highs and lows required to fund the capital projects and equipment.
Toward the end of each year, under the direction of Council’s Budget Committee, Administration prepares the Interim Operating and Capital Budgets for the following fiscal year. These budgets compile the costs of each of the departments together on a line-by-line item basis to determine the total program costs which need to be funded from revenues. All other sources of municipal revenues and transfers other than taxation (such as provincial grants, investment income, user fee revenues, etc.) are applied against these total program costs; whereas the net remaining amount is to be raised by property taxes. The amount of tax revenue needed to fund the programs along with the assessment base determines the tax rates used.
Before the start of the fiscal year, Council adopts the Interim Operating and Capital Budgets based on the information available. In the spring of each year, Administration gathers the remaining information required to finalize the budgets; where this may include the following:
- Final property assessment values (typically received in late February – early March)
- Provincial Education requisitions (typically received in late March)
- Seniors Foundation requisitions (typically received in March)
- Final Allocation of Provincial grant funding (typically received in March)
- Final quotes, funding requests, and other costs as needed
Once all information is received, under the direction of Council’s Budget Committee, Administration prepares the Final Operating and Capital Budgets for the year.
After the budget is approved by Council, expenditures are controlled against the budget by formal purchasing policies, financial systems, and financial reporting designed to prevent budget overruns.
To view the approved Operating and Capital Budgets or the forms available for recreation and cultural funding requests, please see the following sections: