Okotoks Town Council has approved the 2019 budget.

The budget includes $58.9 million for operations and $28.6 million for capital expenditures, including $20.8 million for 2019 capital projects and $7.8 million in multi-year projects.

Economic development initiatives are receiving support from the budget as well with $200,000 to help with the approved economic development strategy.

Ed Sands, Okotoks Town Councillor, says residents will see a tax increase but notes it's less than what was originally proposed.

"Council did vote for a 2 per cent tax increase. The recommendation to administration was to come in with a three per cent tax increase and they brought to Finance and Budget a two and a half per cent tax increase, so a reduction, and we've actually reduced that even further to the two per cent, so we're a 33 per cent reduction from the tax rate that was recommended earlier in the year."

Sands says the Town was presented with a challenge in coming up with their budget as municipalities were mandated by the Province to create a five year capital budget forecast, while also announcing they're getting rid of their majoring grant program, the Municipality Sustainability Initiative grant, in 2021.

"It makes a bit of a farce of capital budget funding past 2020. We anticipate there will be senior government funding from the provincial government, we don't think they would leave us in a lurch, but we are faced with that possibility. So much of what we put into our capital project past 2020 is speculative at best."

According to the Town, the budget will raise an additional $2.2 million in revenue to support services and sustainability while also getting Okotoks ready for future growth.

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