Budgeting and financial planning are an important part of your municipal government. A municipal budget is a planned, itemized summary of money coming into the town, and how that money is spent for a specified period of time. In Manitoba, provincial government legislation states that money coming in equals money going out (aka Revenue = Expenditures, or a Balanced Budget).
The Town of Altona provides many different services to the residents of Altona, so Town Council and Administration often have to make difficult decisions to make sure that this balancing takes place.
The “money going out” side of the budget is broken into two main components: the Operating Budget, and the Capital Budget. The Operating Budget pays for day-to-day stuff, like salaries, utilities, supplies, fuel and insurance, just to name a few. You can think of this like paying your bills at home to keep the lights on. Just like in a normal household, our bills go up with inflation.
The Capital budget pays for all the new big investments or rehabilitation of current assets, which is done through two methods: the Reserve Fund method which sets aside funds to pay for capital projects on a cash basis. These are usually projects that are paid for in the short term such as replacing equipment, or building repairs. The other method is the debt payment approach. This is the principal and interest payments on debt for projects that are paid for over the longer term, like new roads or facilities. You can think of this like your major purchases at home – vehicles, house, renovations, etc.
For every dollar that comes into town, a portion comes from property taxes, some from provincial grants, and user fees and other sources make up the rest. These proportions are outlined year to year in the financial plan.
Town Council and Administration, with the input of the public, decide how to best balance the Town budget, guided by provincial legislation.
Every year, you have the opportunity to provide your input at a Financial Plan public hearing.