Council grapples with budget

Welcome to winter! Please be cautious out there. Ensure you have good snow tires, watch for ice and carry sandbags

Welcome to winter! Please be cautious out there. Ensure you have good snow tires, watch for ice and carry sandbags. On the up side, there are so many wonderful Shuswap winter activities to enjoy!

I want to start out by congratulating the following local businesses on some significant anniversaries: Askews Foods family-owned grocery store, 86 years; EZRock (CKXR) radio, formerly known as Big R, 50 years; and Braby Motors family-owned auto dealership, 50 years.

As you may be aware, 2016 city budget deliberations are now complete.

It was a difficult budget year due to a shortfall from 2014 that can be attributed to lower than projected new growth, successful property reassessments and the cost of snow removal.

I will add the memorandum from our chief financial officer to my blog on the city website for your personal review. See www.salmonarm.ca and click on Mayor’s Blog.

Staff spent months preparing the budget; council received it well in advance and came prepared. Council opted to fully fund some initiatives, partially fund or ask for partnerships to fund others and, in many cases, totally cut initiatives out of the budget. We reviewed 30-plus specific requests with the same sharp pencil and decided to pay $315,000 on a debenture debt, saving approximately $90,000 in interest.

After eight hours of deliberations we settled on a 2.97 per cent tax increase.

In dollar terms, this means that an average home will see a $45 tax increase minus an $11 dollar decrease in solid waste recycling fees for a total increase of $34.

There is one budget item that each of you who are able can help out with.

By shovelling the sidewalks in front of your home you not only reduce snow removal costs to the City but, more importantly, you become a much appreciated neighbour.

 

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