Penhold passes 2018 operational budget

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PENHOLD – The new year looks promising for Penhold residents.

The town is starting 2018 with a balanced budget with a zero per cent tax increase. Penhold council held two budget meetings on Dec. 4 and 7.

Members of Penhold council approved the 2018 operating budget at a council meeting on Dec. 11.

“I’m thrilled with how it turned out and I think the rest of council is too,” said Mayor Mike Yargeau. “Staff did a great job presenting. We had a lot of good questions and discussion and everyone was really able I feel, to get their priorities across.”

In addition, council budgeted for the provincial education requisition and was able to set aside some money into reserves, noted Yargeau, adding that property taxes are expected to be very similar to the previous year.

“We budgeted $911,000 (for the school requisition), which is $91,000 more than last year. We won’t know the exact amount until later on in the new year but we wanted to budget for it,” he said.

“Administration did a great job of taking the comments we had made since the election and understood what we were looking for, which was a balanced budget with zero tax increase,” said Yargeau.

“After going through the budget we were able to find some extra money this year,” he added, noting the $145,000 in reserves.

Yargeau also noted the positive impact on services.

“There’s been no major cuts to any of our services. We’re continuing with the projects that we’ve got and are able to bring the rest in with this budget,” said Yargeau.

Once final numbers are calculated in February, he said council will look at a three-year or longer-term capital budget.

“Once we get into our strategic planning and look at any upcoming capital projects, we’ll decide what to do with (the $145,000 in reserves) or it’ll get rolled over until next year,” he added.

“We’ve got a lot of great things happening right now in town.”

First-time councillor Tyrone Muller was pleased to see the budget pass smoothly, with both council and administration providing details, answering questions and helping with the overall budget specifics.

“I was expecting it to be much more of a battle,” said Muller. “Getting the budget balanced and actually having some reserves, I think that’s a dream come true for me coming into (budget deliberations). I’m quite pleased with where we’re at.”

Mike Yargeau, Penhold mayor

“Administration did a great job of taking the comments we had made since the election and understood what we were looking for, which was a balanced budget with zero tax increase.”

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Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean is a reporter with the Innisfail Province, joining the newspaper in 2013. She covers Penhold municipal politics, news and community events as well as sports in and around the town as well as in Innisfail.