Sexsmith’s $4.1M interim budget keeps expenses under control

·2 min read

Sexsmith council approved an interim operating budget for 2021 during its regular meeting last week.

The interim budget anticipates increased expenses of $4.1 million (from $4 million in 2020) and increased revenues of $4.7 million (from $4.5 million).

“This allows us to keep operating, of course, and the surplus funds will be used for capital projects,” said mayor Kate Potter.

Council has to choose capital projects for 2021 and has decision packages to help determine which proposed undertakings to move forward on, she said.

Decisions will be made on the roads in January or February and a capital budget will be complete in the spring when council has more information about assessment values, she said.

“We were pleased that our administration in different departments worked very hard to maintain cost levels or cut costs,” Potter said.

She cited increased expenses such as police costs as a reason to maintain operating expenses as much as possible.

(Before this year’s change to the provincial funding model, only municipalities with populations above 5,000 contributed funding to the RCMP.)

Staff helped these efforts by declining cost-of-living increases and raises, aware this is a tight year, she said.

According to administration, the town’s overall revenues rose at a higher percentage than expenses in 2020, also putting the town in a better position going into budget.

Potter said this variance related to COVID, temporary layoffs in the spring and saved expenses in not running programs like summer camps or Chautauqua Day this year.

The interim budget shows Chautauqua Day revenues for 2021 are anticipated at $15,000 in 2021.

According to the interim budget, major operating expenses include public works at $1 million and water expenses at $269,723, both on par with last year, and administration at $846,585, from $821,437.

A new expense is sustainability, at $2,500 in 2021.

Council recently (File photo) reactivated the sustainability committee, which hasn’t operated since 2018.

The budget also includes more funding support for the arena ($123,702, from $80,000) and curling rink ($13,944, from $2,000), thanks to County of Grande Prairie grants, Potter said.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News