After a second round of deliberations over the City’s four year capital plan, the proposed tax increase remains at 4.2 per cent per year, but it will allow council some more flexibility.
Mayor Bill Given says with dropping oil prices, the economy is less certain than it was a few months ago, and this new proposed budget relies less on provincial funding.
“I think it’s a reasonable concept to say that we should ensure that we have some flexibility if provincial grants don’t come forward at the levels that we expect them to, or if we see a wider change in the economy that does have an impact locally, the changes that council made will help.”
Council’s re-hashed capital budget is now $1.8 Million less the the first plan proposed, which was put together back in November.
A set of traffic lights on 110 Ave and 107 St were unfunded, while council decided to adjust their funding source for two other projects.
One of the most contentious items was the Leisure Centre renovations, which council ultimately decided to hang on to, at a cost of $5 Million over 3 years.
Councillor Jackie Clayton was one of those in favour of abandoning Leisure Centre upgrades, as she saw it is as council’s best opportunity to eliminate a tax increase.
“Our current facility at the Eastlink Centre is under-utilized, and I think that once we get started with the engineering and design work, the Leisure Centre is going to wind up costing more than $11 Million. The funding at an 8 hour schedule of $1.1 Million isn’t fiscally responsible, and I don’t think that taxes going up for that facility makes sense.”
Council also agreed not to scrap $400,000 for sound baffles at the Eastlink Centre, and $340,000 for refurbishment of the Wee Links course.