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The 2016 Budget Process

The 2016 Budget, along with a 2017-2018 Financial Plan, will provide a foundation for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to meet the public service and infrastructure needs of residents. In addition, budget documents provide information for residents interested in learning about the operation of the municipality and understanding how tax dollars are spent.

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Documents: 2016 Approved Budget

2016 Budget Meeting Schedule

Last updated: Monday, Nov. 9, at 10:15 a.m.

Nov. 3,
6 p.m.
Proposed budget introduced to Council
Nov. 4 Budget Workshop
9 a.m. to
4:30 p.m.
Community Investment Program Funding Requests Presentation

Operating Budget Presentations and Deliberations
1 p.m. Delegations
Nov. 5 Budget Workshop
9 a.m. to
4:30 p.m.
Continuation of Operating Budget Presentations and Deliberations
9 a.m. Delegations
Nov. 6 Budget Workshop
9 a.m. to
4:30 p.m.
Capital Budget Presentations and Deliberations
9 a.m. Delegations
Nov. 9 Budget Workshop
9 a.m. to
4:30 p.m.
Conclusion of Budget Deliberations and Recommendation to Council
9 a.m. Delegations
Dec. 8,
6 p.m.
Consolidated 2016 Budget and Financial Plan presented to Council for approval.

Note: Meeting dates and times may be amended throughout this process to provide sufficient time for deliberation.

The Budget Process

Every time your street is plowed, your garbage or recycling is collected, you visit a trail or park, or catch the bus, you can see your tax dollars at work. It is municipal budget decisions that set the funding for the programs and services that maintain our quality of life. Developing this budget involves making difficult decisions between essential programs, infrastructure demands, and the wants and needs of residents. It is the responsibility of the Mayor and Council to lead Administration through this process and to make those difficult decisions on behalf of taxpayers.

The Municipality’s budget cycle follows the calendar year, January 1 through December 31. Council approves one-year operating and capital budgets. Beginning in the fall, Council will review the proposed budget that has been developed by Administration for the following year. Once this budget has been thoroughly reviewed and deliberated, the proposed budget will be brought to Council for final approval.

Budget Meeting Access

The municipal budget process is responsible, transparent and accountable to taxpayers. Residents are invited to watch the Budget Workshops as the Mayor and Councillors discuss the proposed budget for 2016. Residents can attend the meetings in Council Chamber at Jubilee Centre, 9909 Franklin Avenue, Fort McMurray, or watch the meetings via the live video streams. Check the budget meeting schedule for details.

Delegations: Making a Presentation to Council

Residents’ involvement is an essential part of the democratic process. As a means of making the budget process more accountable to taxpayers, residents will be provided with an opportunity to make a brief presentation to Council at the beginning of each Budget Workshop meeting starting on Nov. 4 to voice any concerns or become more involved.

Municipal Budgeting Facts

The operating budget covers the cost of maintaining services like snow removal, road maintenance and municipal fire services.

The capital budget covers the costs of constructing and renewing buildings, roads and parks.

A balanced budget is a budget in which revenues are equal to expenses.

A surplus occurs if actual revenues exceed actual expenses. Every year, a balanced budget is presented to Council for approval based on estimated revenues and estimated expenses.

Municipalities often borrow money to, at least in part, finance major capital projects such as sewer systems, roads or buildings. When the municipality borrows money, they issue a debenture to obtain the necessary funds, which is much like a mortgage or loan.

Funds to finance municipal operations come from property taxes and user fees (fees for permits, services, etc.). The Municipality also receives grant funding from other levels of government (Government of Alberta or Federal Government). These grants may be unconditional or targeted to specific projects.

The Awards

2015 GFOA Award

[Click image for larger view]

An Award-Winning Budget

Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Winner for 2015 Budget

The 2016 budget deliberation process comes on the heels of the announcement that the Municipality has won the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the 2015 Budget. Presented on Sept. 3, 2015, by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada, this is the fifth year in a row that the Municipality has won the award.

The award represents a significant achievement by the municipality and reflects the commitment of Mayor and Council, and Administration to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. To receive the budget award, the municipality had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well the municipality’s budget serves as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide, and a communications device. Budget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four categories, and the fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories, to receive the award.

The GFOA established the Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program to encourage and assist state and local governments to prepare budget documents of the very highest quality and reflect the best practices on budgeting, and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal. Find out more about the budget awards programs at the GFOA website.

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