The budget process is underway for the City of Lloydminster.
In the first draft of the budget, there is a proposed property tax increase. For residential properties, the increase would be one mill, which means homes valued at $350,000 would see a tax increase of $350 a year or $29 a month. For commercial properties, the factor would increase by 0.2, which means properties valued at $1 million would see a tax increase of $2,692 a year or $224 a month.
“Can we bring that down? Certainly administration and council will be challenged to do that because we don’t like to see tax increases, no one likes to see tax increases,” says Mayor Gerald Aalbers.
This draft of the budget also hopes to eliminate the cities dependency on land surplus in 2018, and limit dependency on water utility surpluses over the next five years.
“The budget clearly laid out that we have been subsidizing the operational budget of the city through land sales and that money was not added to a reserve and money that had come out of water utilities had been used to subsidize operations and led to a tax level we’re at today but does that tax level support the operations of the city, no.”
City Manager Dion Pollard says, “it’s a standard practice in municipal governments and so we’re just moving in a direction to do that.”
Going forward, the Waste Water Treatment Plant is still top of mind for council. Aalbers says in the draft that was presented, 20% of utilities will be going into reserves to help pay for that.
“Having money in reserves makes allowances to cover off potential payments on money borrowed for the Water Water Treatment Plant. We’re looking at about a $30 million expense to the city that we’re going to have to borrow to construct that Waster Water Treatment Plant if all of the funding comes together from the federal and the two provincial governments.”
Overall revenues look to sit at $82,130,227 and expenditures at $80,562,738, creating a surplus of $1,567,489. Aalbers says the city will be seeing a 6.8% reduction in their grants from the Saskatchewan Government due to budget constrains provincially stemming from a slower economy. The economic influence on the Alberta Government grants has yet to be laid out.
City Council is looking for feedback on the first draft of the budget, residents are encourage to email [email protected]. The budget process will continue with more information being presented at the November 20 Governance and Priorities Committee Meeting. Administration is hoping for a finalized budget to be presented by the end of December, however the timeline is flexible.