Welcome to the 2016 Annual Report. In addition to our financial statistics, you can read about all of the things we as a Council, along with our Administration, was proud to have accomplished in the last 12 months.
The economic recovery has been very slow, so we are happy to maintain our 30% tax reduction for residents from 2015, and offer a 30% tax rebate to some industrial and commercial property classes in the 2017 budget. We are able to do this despite a 15% reduction in linear assessment and an 8.37% reduction in assessment overall, which cost the County $3.1 million in tax revenue.
We’ve also eliminated most planning and development fees for 2017, to help encourage development, and to make it easier for residents to bring their properties into compliance with bylaws.
The County continues to be a leader when it comes to the environment. Our solar project on three municipal buildings, including the County Administration Building and Public Works Shop is complete, and Council is looking to add more solar panels in Breton. Our ALUS program has approved its first projects, and we are awaiting program details from the provincial government so that we can maximize dollars while investing in clean technology.
We’ve also been at the forefront of an initiative to grow hemp in our County, hosting three workshops to educate producers and connect them with hemp buyers. This crop is beneficial both economically and environmentally, and there is a great demand for it. Central Alberta is one of the best places in the country to grow hemp, which besides being a carbon sink, has many great uses.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Municipal Development Plan Charrette in late April. We heard some great ideas, and I appreciate the views of everyone involved. This is your County, and I’m glad you took the opportunity to help shape it for the future. Keep an eye out for a new Municipal Development Plan being developed over the coming months.
As the weather finally starts to warm up, I wish you a happy spring and summer. I hope you get outside and enjoy all the County has to offer. Happy Birthday Canada! It’s a special one this year, as our great country celebrates 150 years. We’ll have more on Canada Day and some history of our area in the July-August newsletter.
Bart Guyon Reeve, Brazeau County