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The County of Stettler works on a three year budget cycle. We use the three year model to forecast future expenditures and plan for future projects. It gives council an awareness of upcoming expenditures which keeps everyone informed and supports a culture of forward thinking.
Assembling an annual budget always begins with an exercise in Strategic Planning. Annually, we survey our citizens to determine where their priorities lie. The results of our public feedback inquiry are presented to Council as they workshop through past strategic priorities and current goals and direction. Council considers future projects, services provided, current economic climate and emerging trends. This process allows us to identify and consider what our citizens value most and then identify new trends and upcoming initiatives and prioritize the direction of our municipality.
Breaking down the budget
When planning the budget, the County estimates how much money will be spent (expenditures) to maintain services and infrastructure, and how that money will be generated (revenue) to meet the anticipated expenditures. Once these estimates are made and plans are set, staff develop the budget for Council’s consideration. The budget can be broken into two categories: operating and capital.
The operating budget includes the anticipated expenses to keep the municipality operating on a daily basis. This portion of the budget is used to ensure essential day-to-day services are provided – from rural water distribution, to snow plowing, to drainage and road repairs, gravelling and grading.
The capital budget focuses more on long-term planning for investments in infrastructure to ensure the County can operate in an efficient, effective and economical manner. This portion of the budget is used for one-time purchases: investments for the future of our community, such as roads, utilities (water, wastewater and stormwater), technology, vehicles and equipment.