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City to hold the line on taxes, thanks to Safe Restart fund

City council decided not to go to the well in 2021. Well, not anymore than they did in 2020.

In an 6-3 vote Monday, council decided to use just over half of a $6.1 million provincial Safe Restart fund to balance the books. For taxpayers, it means city taxes will not increase this year. They will be taxed at the same rate as last year.

Last month, council approved its budget which, as it was, would have resulted in a two per cent increase. 

Coun. Kyle Sampson brought the motion forward Monday calling for a zero per cent increase.

“There are people who are really struggling,” Sampson said. “It’s about buying some time and giving businesses and residents a break.”

Coun. Cori Ramsay, however, was concerned that a zero per cent increase now would result in larger increases down the road as the city plays catch-up due to inflation. She proposed a one per cent budget increase.

Council, however, decided on a zero per cent increase with Ramsay and Coun. Garth Frizzell and Susan Scott voting against.

The final budget presumes the continued closure of facilities such as the Civic Centre and Four Seasons Pool and forecasts continued revenue reductions through 2021.

Other 2021 budget highlights:

  • A $1.5 million increase in the budget for snow and ice control.
  • A $501,000 increase in the city operating budget to cover all service areas except those with service/utility fees: off-street parking, snow, solid waste, sewer, water, and district energy.
  • A $150,000 increase in the budget for road and sidewalk rehabilitation.
  • A $125,000 increase in funding for infrastructure reinvestment to keep pace with inflation.
  • An increase in funding to the RCMP for two members to provide enhanced training for officers was not approved.

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