At Monday's town council meeting, Okotoks' town council approved increasing the 2024 budget by almost $2 million.

The town's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ralph Ettenauer presented the request to town council to increase the 2024 Capital Budget from $520,000 to $2.478 million.

They did this so they could purchase a new fire truck now, before the prices of a new truck become out of reach.

"There's been an opportunity here for us to advance the purchase of this 100-foot fire truck and this capital budget request reflects the fact that we'd like to pay for it now and get delivery at a later date under this particular commercial arrangement that we're currently negotiating," explains CFO Ettenauer.

These extra funds will be coming from the 2026 budget.

Even though part of the original funding was from a grant, pushing the purchase of a new truck ahead a few years won't affect the town's eligibility for the grant.

"Here's a really good example of the price increases that we're seeing from fire. So, an engine rescue in 2021, we paid $800,000," explained Chief Administrative Officer Elaine Vincent at the town council meeting. "When we did the quote in winter, it was an 8 per cent increase. Spring 2023, it was another 8 per cent increase. So, what was 800,000 was 900,000, and today it's $1.2 million. It is one of the areas we are just seeing a rapid increase in escalation of cost."

Vincent adds, that by paying for the fire truck now, not only will the town save money in the midst of rising costs, but the town is guaranteed to receive delivery of the truck in 2026, as there is currently a two-year lead time.

"That's why we felt we had an obligation to present that to council from a fiscal responsibility perspective and showing alignment with our actual capital plan," said Vincent.