Council for the Municipality of Rhineland has approved a $7.1 million budget for 2019/20, representing a 2.2% increase from 2018/19.
Reeve Don Wiebe explains the bump in spending is due in part to wage settlements and a rise in other operating costs.
In addition, Council has set aside money for items that Wiebe says will help make for a sustainable municipality in to the future.
"We started talking about where we want to go as a municipality because it's the beginning of a new term," he said, noting the municipality's strategic plan and mission - to support social and economic development in order to continually improve the quality of life - played a big role in the process of putting together the list of expenditures for the year.
That list includes an increase of $25,000 for economic development to help SEED increase business opportunities in the region. $25,100 has been allocated to hire a GIS technician to build a database for municipal infrastructure which Wiebe says will help officials make better decisions on asset repairs and drainage design going forward. Additional money has been set aside to further cover the cost of the provincially-mandated asset management plan required for all municipalities.
$890,000 has been set aside for capital projects, however there are no firm plans yet to spend it. $1.2 million has also been designated for equipment upgrades in the coming year.
While no extra dollars were allocated to this work, Wiebe said a Council priority remains to improve cell and Internet service throughout Rhineland.
The municipality will also continue to work with the R.M. of Stanley in establishing a joint bylaw enforcement strategy in the coming year.
"We just got a draft bylaw presented to us from the lawyers and the next step, after reviewing that, is looking at how we're going to enforce that," said Wiebe, who noted there are a couple of options to consider. They include hiring an enforcement officer in-house or contract an outside service. "So those are the next questions on bylaw enforcement."
Click here to view the Municipality of Rhineland's full 2019 budget presentation including tax implications across the area.