City goes for zero tax increase

City council has given first three readings for a five-year-financial plan and a zero tax increase budget for 2015.

City council has given first three readings for a five-year-financial plan and a zero tax increase budget for 2015.

“It’s a tough budget, there’s no doubt about it, “ Coun. Scott Nelson said during council’s April 14 regular meeting.

“We did some corporate restructuring to save S4 million over the next five years.”

Budgeting will be even tougher in 2016, Nelson added.

In presenting the plan and budget, chief financial officer Margaret Stewart said several goals were set as staff and council went through the budget process.

“We want to establish new growth and a zero per cent increase in taxation to cover operating and capital costs,” Stewart said.

Taxation in the five-year financial plan means a zero per cent increase in 2015 and a three per cent increase built in over the next four years, Stewart noted.

Road rehabilitation will continue, with a total expenditure of $1.15 million planned for 2015.

Areas slated for work include Cameron, Borland, Oliver, Yorston and Mart Streets and First Avenue, Third Avenue North and Seventh Avenue North.

Stewart also said the city will not be acquiring any new debt for 2015 under the plan, however, in 2016 will be purchasing fire equipment.

Some of the city’s long-term debt will expire in 2018 and the rest between 2019 and 2031, she added.

Moving forward the city will begin budget discussions for 2016 in September of 2015, aiming to have a finalized budget to present to the public by December, which Stewart said will allow staff to begin tendering processes early in the new year.

Presently there are 122 city employees, 47 exempt firefighters, city council and management on the city’s payroll.

To view the budgeting work on the city’s website through its OpenGov program and changes that were made in the process go to—The-City-of-Williams-Lake.

“I encourage the public to go into the website and see the details if you are curious at all or have an appetite to see where your tax dollars are going,” Coun. Laurie Walters said.


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