Lloydminster city council has approved the 2020 capital and operating budget.
The budget brings a 2.5 per cent property tax increase for residential and commercial properties. Councillor Stephanie Munro says the council has met with city staff many times to find cuts while still maintaining the same level of service.
“We have done our due diligence as a council in asking administration to see what cutbacks we could make to really take into account that the residents of our community are going through an economic time that isn’t beneficial for anybody.”
Council continued to dig deeper into some of the items on the budget to try and cut as many unnecessary costs as possible. One item discussed was a roof replacement for the Servus Sports Centre which is budgeted at $575,000. Council was informed that city staff are looking into warranty coverage for the repairs which Mayor Gerald Aalbers says they will be pursued to the fullest extent.
“If the work is not required or in this case, the roof is able to obtain warranty then that money will be left to reserve. If we don’t put it [into the budget] and don’t get a warranty or the roof deteriorates to the point where we have to do the work then we need the money to be set aside.”
Councillor Jonathan Torresan says the tax increase is taking inflation rates into account and will go a long way in providing services and funding city projects.
“We are getting a higher level of fire service than we’ve ever had before and that is coming at $2.5 million costs greater than when we had our volunteer service. We are continuing to do annual snow removal at least once per year. Not to mention we are doing a whole lot on the capital side so we are doing a lot with that 2.5 per cent.”
City council will revise the budget in early May after a mill rate for 2020 has been calculated and both provinces have released their budgets.