The first draft of the 2019 budget is in the rearview as the City of Lloydminster tries to figure out what’s best for the border city.
In the first. draft of the budget, a property tax increase was proposed. Residential properties could see a 2.7% increase, which factors out to $60 a year for homes worth $350,000. For Commercial Properties, the increase would see $309 for 2019 on properties valued at $1 million. The proposed increase factors no changes to market value or school taxes
Councillor Ken Baker says he is worried that residents will repeat last years disdain for tax increases.
“If you preset the mil rate some people really got hit hard last year because of the big fluctuations in assessments. I am a firm believer you don’t finalize your budget in detail, the complete annual budget until you have the assessment.”
Baker adds that another reason he wants to see an assessment before the annual budget is to see the impacts of different properties so that everyone is treated fairly.
The first draft also includes the increase in transportation and city reserve costs. Council has listened to residents feedback pertaining to winter roads with costs looking to enhance maintenance in the snow-filled months. In the case of an emergency, the City looks to enhance their city reserves to better prepare if an immediate event were to happen. The budget looks to also increase provincial/federal grant funding in order to offset increased operational costs.
The City is still in the same spot when it comes to the wastewater treatment plant. The $9 million contribution from the city is being accounted for in this year’s budget. Mayor Gerald Aalbers says the city continues to secure funding for the estimated $80 million project.
“We’re our in regular dialogue with the provincial governments and the federal government but it’s a process and a process like no other. This has been two years now and we still don’t have an answer but we have it in the budget. We”re not going anywhere and neither is the waste water treatment plant.”
Overall revenues look to sit around $82 million and expenditures at close to $83 million creating a deficit of $946,465. Mayor Aalbers says the administration continues to look for cost-saving benefits, but he says the only way to gain a million dollar increase would be to cut certain services.
The City will look to tweak the budget over the next couple of months. The budget process will continue with more information being presented at the November 26 Governance and Priorities Committee Meeting.