Council's Finance and Audit Committee got an early preview of what the City requires for revenue. It's $1.5 million addition dollars, which works out to a 1.5% tax hike.
"The 15% is what's needed to maintain the level of services that everyone expects," explains Kris Dalio, the Director of Finance, who says that's the lowest tax hike he's seen in years.
However, there are some additional requests for more funding in three instances.
"The RCMP are coming with a request for two more members. We are asking for an Emergency Coordinator. Given our last summer here, we felt that a position like that would be very, very useful," says Dalio. "And then the third [ask] is a Downtown Bylaw Compliance team. So it's two part-time bylaw people that will work from May to September and they would help with some issues in the downtown."
If those three requests are granted, it would increase the tax hike to 1.8%.
That's the operating budget. The capital budget includes the road rehabilitation budget. For years, that budget was underfunded and the roads fell into disrepair. Recently that budget was brought up to $7 million. However, last year, $2 million from the Community Works Fund was dedicated to sidewalk works and parks, leaving $5 million for roads. The Finance and Audit Committee is recommending the same for the 2018 budget.
Also, the Committee is recommending the snow removal budget remain at $7 million, even though it has not exceeded that amount in recent years.
"We've had a couple of years that weren't as expensive. But you can't assume its going to be like that," says Garth Frizzell, Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee. "So, what we've gotta do is keep that budget funded so that, in the good years, we can fund the budget and it will be ready for the rainy days, or in our case, the snowy days."
The budget for winter sand collection has been added to the snow budget. That is about $1 million per year. Committee Chair Garth Frizzell says it's not time to monkey with that budget.
Council will get to budget discussions in the new year.
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