Strathcona County's $354 million 2017 operating budget includes a 2.15 per cent tax drop.
 
A single-family residential property assessed at $450,000 will see $3.44 less in taxes per month.
 
"Some people might say how is the tax decrease possible, you must have cut services, but if anything we're increasing our services," Strathcona County mayor Roxanne Carr said.
 
$65.6 million in capital projects for 2017 include engineering, design, and land purchase for a multi-purpose agricultural facility, completion of the Trans Canada Trail at Petroleum Way, Ordze Transit Centre renovations, and replacement of the radio system for first responders.
 
Full year costs built into budget 2017 to run new facilities include the Emerald Hills Aquatic Centre, the Emerald Hills Artificial Turf Pavilion and Regional Park, the Broadview Enviroservice Station, the Glen Allan Recreation Complex modernization, and a new snowmelt facility.
 
"With all those projects, there is an increase of services and staffing," added Carr.
 
Since 2015, Strathcona County administration and council have taken a different approach with priority-based budgeting, including working with the Colorado-based priority business centre.
 
"Priority-based budgeting is just one tool, since 2008 I've been promoting an efficiency audit of our organization and a closer look at how we as a municipality can deliver services better, faster and at a higher calibre."
 
The efficiency report was completed in 2008-2009.
 
In the last few years, the county replaced almost all of their associate commissioners.
 
"New eyes often bring a new perspective and understanding when you're using a new method," said Carr.
 
New initiatives for 2017 include the Community Hall Sustainability Strategy and recommendations arising from the Agricultural Master Plan Urban Agriculture Strategy. The county will also renew its social framework, complete a joint study between Utilities and the City of Edmonton to review the water line on 34 Street, and acquire enhanced air photos and related software to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in Assessment and Tax program and several other departments.
 
Municipal Price Inflation (roadway materials, snow clearing equipment, and technology to deliver programs) is projected at 1.1 per cent.
 
As for utility rates, the average customer will see an increase of $1.44 per year.
 
During the final municipal tax rate approval in the spring of 2017, the consolidated tax rate will factor in requisition amounts for provincial education, the Strathcona County Library, and the Heartland Housing Foundation.