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Council approves amended 2017 Budget

Wed Apr 19 10:44:51 CST 2017

After a lengthy discussion Council approved a 2.5 per cent mill-rate increase to balance the 2017 Budget. This is in addition to the 3.99 per cent already approved in February.

Council maintained funding for the PlayEscapes program, conventional transit statutory holiday services, funding for the Leslie Lawn Bowling Greens, and the Regent Park Golf Course.

“In facing this difficult situation, Council used a balanced approach by increasing the mill rate, reducing services, and not touching the municipal reserves,” said Mayor Michael Fougere. “These were tough choices brought on by the $11 million shortfall created through the Provincial government’s 2017-2018 Budget.”

Council was firm in its decision not to allocate reserve funds to lower the tax rate.

“It was extremely important to Council to avoid using a temporary allocation from our dedicated reserve accounts to address this funding shortfall,” said Fougere. “We have heard from residents, and they understand that spending our savings on what is expected to be a permanent cut is neither sustainable nor responsible fiscal stewardship.”

Council also voted to increase fees for voluntary payment of parking tickets by $10, effective July 1.

City Manager Chris Holden said the course of action recommended to Council took in to account tough choices that had to be made given a new fiscal reality.

“We’re managing the City and its finances with a long-term view so we made some difficult recommendations to balance our budget,” Holden said.

When homeowners receive their 2017 tax notice next month, there will be an insert that explains where property tax dollars are allocated and that the City collects education taxes on behalf of the Province.

Amendments to the 2017 Budget are posted on budget.