Town announces Three-Year Fiscal Recovery and Service Stabilization Program
   
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Town announces Three-Year Fiscal Recovery and Service Stabilization Program

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Final budget to be presented to Council for approval at the Dec. 12 Council Meeting

The Town of Devon is sharing the need for a Three-year Fiscal Recovery and Service Stabilization Plan with residents and local businesses as a result of the Town’s budget deliberations held on Nov. 25 & Nov. 26.

“Going into this challenging budget, it was Council’s top priority to mitigate tax increases for residents and businesses while maintaining current service levels to the extent possible,” says Mayor Craddock. “This Three-Year Plan is a viable way to revive the Town’s finances while still providing high-quality programs and services for our residents.”

Costs increases

This was a difficult budget as the Town is facing inflationary pressures such as:

  • Higher cost for fuel
  • Equipment repairs
  • Insurance
  • Utilities
  • A spike in RCMP contract cost for a total of $414,545.

The Town appreciates the support of the RCMP to continue efficiently policing the Town of Devon with their current compliment of officers.

The Town is working hard to mitigate costs, which includes reviewing the Town’s contribution to the HWY 19 and Range Rd. 261A intersection construction with Alberta Transportation in hopes of lowering or eliminating the Town’s contribution, as these costs are included in the three-year plan.

Service Levels

All major service levels and programs that the Town offers such as snow removal and parks maintenance will remain the same to ensure a high quality of life for our residents.

Another taxation mitigation measure is introducing some selective service cuts, including:

  • Reducing crack sealing to main roads and trails for 2023 saving a total of $42,000.
  • Cutting Storm Sewer repairs by $25,000 over the next three years.

These cuts are viable because they will not lower quality of life in Devon but will provide taxation mitigation. By 2025 full-service levels for storm sewer repairs and crack sealing will be restored.

Reserves

The Town is using funds from the stabilization reserve to mitigate tax increases for the 2023 and 2024 fiscal years. For the past eight years, the Town has been withdrawing $162,000 from the stabilization reserve to subsidize the operating budget. This past dependency will be eliminated by 2025 as the balance in the stabilization reserve will be replenished to almost the pre-2023 balance and will be available to Council in future years for tax rate mitigation.

Taxation mitigation and fiscal recovery

By taking the three-year approach the taxation impact is spread over the three-year fiscal period with tax increases proposed of:

  • 5.67% in 2023
  • 4.96% in 2024
  • 3.96% in 2025.

It is critically important due to two years of COVID and emerging fiscal challenges that this multi-year program returns the Town to be fiscally sustainable with services being funded to serve our community and maintain the quality-of-life Devon residents enjoy.

Without this three-year approach, the Towns residents and businesses would have been facing a substantive property taxation increase in 2023.

Programs to support residents and utilization of the river valley

While much of the three-year plan is focused on fiscal recovery and tax mitigation, there are also some exciting new projects coming to the Town in 2023, including:

  • A partnership with the Lions Club to construct the new Canoe Launch
  • Replacing the Community Bus, equipped with a wheelchair lift as the one on the current bus is inoperable
  • Relocation of soccer pitches
  • Upgrading firefighter and CPO radios, linking emergency responders

Dale Fisher Arena Expansion Project

Council recently approved the Dale Fisher Arena Expansion Project at a cost of $18.5M. Only $2.5M of the total project cost is debt financed by the Town.

There will be no impact in the 2023 fiscal year. In the 2024 fiscal year, when the Twin Arena becomes operational, the overall operational performance of the Arena is a net increase in revenue over the additional expenses in the order of $45,000.

Budget Approval

The Town’s capital budget entails long-term infrastructure projects and upgrades, while the operating budget includes the day-to-day costs of delivering programs and services to the Town.

As of Nov. 26, 2022, the 2023 capital budget has been approved by Council, this includes a total estimated cost of $2,040,101 for repairs and maintenance, and $3,057,600 for new infrastructure.

The operating budget will be considered for approval by Council at the Dec. 12, 2022, Council Meeting.

Council wishes to thank all residents who participated in the difficult 2023 budget deliberations and shared thoughts on the Town’s services and budgets.

The draft 2023 budget can be found at devon.ca/2023-budget

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1 Columbia Avenue West
Devon, AB T9G 1A1

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