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Council settles on 1.75 per cent tax rate hike

Not much changed between last week’s special meeting of council and this week’s regular meeting.

With one last chance to make more budget cuts to offset lost revenues of up to $1.3 million per month due to the COVID-19 pandemic, council opted to stick with the decision from last week’s special meeting where it decided to reduce the tax rate increase from 3.44 per cent this year, to 1.75 per cent.

And, just like the special meeting last week, it passed by a 7-2 count, with Coun. Kyle Sampson and Coun. Brian Skakun voting against.

Both Skakun and Sampson said they felt the city could have cut a little deeper and held the tax rate hike to less than one per cent, or even zero.

As it stands, to bring in a tax rate hike of 1.75 per cent the city will defer nearly $25 million in capital projects. It will pay off the loans used last year to pay for the sinkhole on Winnipeg Street and the Willow Cale Road Bridge replacement using reserves.

The the cost of living increase for the mayor and members of council will be cancelled, effective May 1. A 1.75 per cent wage increase for senior staff has also been cancelled.

The city will also eliminate the 10 per cent penalty on late sewer, water, and solid waste utility payments for the period of July 1 to December 31, 2020.

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