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City votes for 75 million budget with 3.5 per cent tax increase to maintain services

“It’s going to be challenging. There’s no question. There’s going to be an extra load on our food banks and things like that and hamper programs at Christmas. There will be greater demand. I do have to say if we could find another way. But no one has come forward with an answer as to what they are willing to sacrifice in this city for services.”

Mayor Gerald Aalbers shared his thoughts as Council on Monday passed the near 75 million dollar budget for the next year. The budget sees a 3.5 per cent increase on taxes to maintain the level of services.

Aalbers described the fiscal package as a maintenance budget noting that there will be road repairs and water and sewer work as well as the ongoing construction on the Wastewater treatment plant. However, they will not be tackling any major items.

Council also accepted in principle the 10-year capital plan which looks at ageing facilities like the Civic Centre Arena.

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“I think that people need to realise that the infrastructure that maintains this city is ageing. It is challenging to us, be it the Civic Centre and other facilities. The budget serves the day-to-day operational needs of the City and ensures that the services you count on and expect are there, as well as the long-term capital needs are being addressed as best as we can. We came up 15 million dollars short on capital needs, but they are deferred. But that does not go away. They are still there. It’s next year’s budget again.”

As noted when the draft was presented on November 10th, the RCMP salary will see a six per cent increase on the City’s budget.

The total operating revenue is $72,636,191 with operating expenditure at $110,915,925. This results in a municipal tax levy of $38,354,998, excluding amortization of $21,672,600.

Total capital revenue is $74,790,167 balanced by that same figure in total costs.

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