Friday, May 1, 2015
Taxation: Municipal Budgeting
Each municipality must go over their spending in each and every department during the previous year, then decide how much money that municipality will need to operate for the upcoming year. The budgeting process begins in the fall of each year.
Most larger municipalities finalize their budgets close to the beginning of the calendar year, but many smaller ones finalize theirs in late spring. For those who wait until spring, they must create and authorize an "Interim Budget," which is basically just an extension of last year's budget.
Provincial law mandates that municipalities must not operate with a deficit budget - so councils and administration staff must work hard to "balance the budget" each year before in can be approved.
Smaller communities like ours must run a very tight ship. We must provide our citizens with everything a larger municipality does, but with far fewer people to "pay the bills!" Citizens of Beiseker still require streets and sidewalks, street lights, water & sewer services, playgrounds, recreation & cultural facilities, and fire protection, along with a host of other services -- but our tax base is much smaller than a city!
For example, an arena in a city must serve (and be paid for by) at least 20,000 taxpayers. A small town arena may only serve fewer than 2000 people. Yet both buildings must be built, maintained, and operated in a similar manner. Beiseker is very fortunate that our Ag Society has taken on the task of managing our arena, here!
After the budget has been created and approved by the elected council, it's time to set the mill rate.