With the new year soon upon us, the Special Areas Board is getting key pieces moving for the year ahead. The Advisory Council has reviewed the 2021 budget and the Board has recommended it for approval. 2021 marks a departure from the revised budget put in place April 2020, with a return to expenditure levels more consistent with pre-COVID years.
In 2021, the Board is planning a small deficit budget which is a result of significant reductions in revenues for the upcoming year. Fiscal pressures resulting from declining grant funding, increasing levels of bad debt, and downward pressures on assessment continue to create challenging financial conditions. This spring the Board will review the 2021 budget to establish municipal mill rates once provincial assessment information is released, including expected changes to industrial assessment. The Board’s focus remains on delivering a budget that protects investments made in municipal infrastructure while focusing on key ratepayer services.
At the last Advisory Council meeting in December, the road recrowning program was approved for the 2021 season. This program, investigated in-depth in 2019, allows internal forces to rehabilitate appropriate gravel roads by re-establishing crown and road width. This program will reduce long-term maintenance costs on these surfaces and gives Special Areas a tool to rehabilitate some gravel roads at a much lower cost when compared to traditional road construction. From now until March, administration will be working with local road committees and foremen to develop the formal 2021 road recrowning program for review this spring. Local road committees will be meeting over the next few months to allow local road committee members, administration, and Advisory Councillors a chance to review the proposed 2021 road program, discuss local road priorities and make formal recommendations for upcoming projects.
For more information on your local road committee meeting or to learn more about upcoming Advisory Council meetings contact your local District Office.