The 2017 Budget Process
Latest Budget Update
Mayor and Council passed the 2017 Capital Budget and Interim Operating Budget at the Dec. 13 Council Meeting.
Council approved a capital budget of $391.8 million and a $137 million interim operating budget, which will provide for the continuation of operations and staffing requirements for the first quarter of 2017. It will also give the Wood Buffalo Steering Group more time to recommend a Joint Plan for Bill 21 Transition to Council and to re-engage with regional stakeholder groups.
This year’s budget process included budget workshops on Nov. 28-30 and Dec. 2 that were open to the public. Residents were invited to attend the sessions in Council Chamber or watch online. Workshop documents and video are available in the Council Agendas and Minutes section.
The 2017 Budget, along with a 2018-2022 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.
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, Jan. 1 through Dec. 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 2017. Residents can attend the meetings in Council Chamber at Jubilee Centre, 9909 Franklin Ave., Fort McMurray, or watch the meetings via live video streams. Check the budget meeting schedule on the Council and Committee Meetings page 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. 28 to voice any concerns or become more involved.
Budget Workshop: Schedule of Proceedings
[Please note that the timeframes here are estimates, and subject to change without notice.]
|Day 1: Monday, November 28|
|5:00 p.m.||Call to Order|
|Community Investment Program Presentations|
|5:00 p.m.||Northern Alberta Athletic Association (Terry Connors, Ross Green and David Fitzgerald)|
|5:15 p.m.||Fort McMurray Historical Society (Roseann Davidson and Tammy Plowman)|
|5:30 p.m.||Wood Buffalo Regional Library (Monica Domingues and Melissa Flett)|
|5:45 p.m.||Fort McMurray Tourism (Jean-Marc Guillamot and Frank Creasey)|
|6:00 p.m.||Local Helicopter Emergency Response Organization (HERO) Foundation (Paul Spring and Andrea Montgomery-Spring)|
|6:15 p.m.||Vista Ridge (Kevin Grogan)|
|6:30 p.m.||YMCA of Northern Alberta, Wood Buffalo Region (Janet Giles and Jim Weller)|
|6:45 p.m.||Regional Recreation Corporation (Allan Grandison, Annette Antoniak and Maureen Gravelle)|
|Recess to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29|
|Day 2: Tuesday, November 29|
|Operating Budget Presentations|
|5:00 p.m.||2017 Operating Budget Introduction (E. Hutton/ L. Ollivier)|
|5:15 p.m.||Public Delegations|
|5:45 p.m.||Planning and Regional Development Division (B. Couture)
|7:30 p.m.||Community and Protective Services Division (D. Bendfeld)
|Recess to 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30|
|Day 3: Wednesday, November 30|
|5:00 p.m.||Communications and Stakeholder Relations (B. Erskine)|
|5:10 p.m.||Infrastructure and Engineering (R. Billard)
|7:15 p.m.||Infrastructure and Engineering (cont’d)
|8:00 p.m.||Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee and Task Force (D. Woodworth)|
|Recess to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, December 2|
|Day 4: Friday, December 2|
In the event the scheduled budget presentations on Friday, Dec. 2, are on schedule or ahead of schedule, Council may call for Public Delegations (otherwise scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3) that afternoon/evening prior to reconvening the Special Council Meeting and ensuing debate on any potential motions.
|8:30 a.m.||Corporate Services Division (E. Hutton)
|10:00 a.m.||Council (D. Leflar)|
|10:15 a.m.||Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (M. Ulliac)
|10:45 a.m.||Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (K. Scoble)
|Capital Budget Presentations|
|11:00 a.m.||Capital Budget Introduction (E. Hutton/L. Ollivier)|
|11:15 a.m.||Infrastructure and Engineering Division
|12:00 p.m.||Lunch Break|
|1:00 p.m.||Infrastructure and Engineering Division (cont'd)
|2:15 p.m.||Planning and Regional Development Division
|3:00 p.m.||Community and Protective Services Division
|4:00 p.m.||Corporate Services Division
Public Delegations will be called after budget presentations, to be followed by the reconvening of the Special Council Meeting for the conclusion and recommendation to Council.
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.