Council looking at budget approval in February

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CARSTAIRS – Council expects the budget for 2018 to come out in late February, says Mayor Lance Colby.

Council and administration are working hard to get the budget ready and the process is going well, he said.

“We’re just in the preliminary stages,” said Colby. “We’re just going over and getting things ready. We’re going to carry forward with what we had last year for now with the 2017 budget until we set the new one.”

Colby said council is expecting to keep the mill rate at 6.9 per cent with no increase.

“Once we finalize it, we’ll know more,” he said. “We’re looking at no increase. In fact if it works out we’d like to lower, it but we’ll see how it goes.

“We have some things we have to look at yet as far as things we’re going to have to do for infrastructure and stuff, so that’ll determine how we set the mill rate.”

Colby said one major project council has its eye on is the proposed seniors’ housing project.

“We have to watch and see if the seniors’ lodge gets approved with funding from the government,” he said. “If that goes ahead we have to bring the infrastructure into that area. That would cost us some money.

“Also, we’re looking at really everything. We might put in another lift station. We don’t know yet. We have to determine where our next building and growth will take place.”

Colby said they are also reviewing policing to see if there is adequate coverage.

“If we increase our policing that will change how we look at our budget,” he said. “Our whole thing is to not increase the mill rate. If anything, we hope to decrease it.”

Council is also awaiting word on the potential new school building or building expansion.

“We haven’t heard from them (Chinook’s Edge School board) as to what their big plans are,” he said. “We don’t think there will be anything major. We think they’ll do something with the K-4 that’s now K-2. They may expand; add portables on.

“We have to wait and hear about that. We just have to see what’ll impact us in the big picture before we make any decisions. We go through line by line and everyone, all the operations people, parks people, emergency services, director of disaster services, we’ll look at all their needs and determine how they fit in the budget and what we can cut to keep our mill rate at least 6.9 per cent.”

“We’re just going over and getting things ready. We’re going to carry forward with what we had last year for now with the 2017 budget until we set the new one.”

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Craig Lindsay

Craig Lindsay is a reporter with the Mountain View Gazette who joined the newspaper in 2016. He covers news, sports and community events in Didsbury, Carstairs and Cremona. He is a photographer and columnist as well.