Council will be a virtual meeting tonight.
Here are some of the major items on the agenda:
1 – Council will look at the 2nd and 3rd reading of the fireworks amendments to the fire bylaw. Currently, you cannot buy fireworks in town. The amendments would allow them to be sold under conditions. We have had a lot of back and forth discussions on this at a couple of meetings with a fair amount of public input as well.
2 – Council Code of Conduct – This is an initiative I brought forward early in the term – for council to review it and make any changes. Council had some great conversations and I think we will end with a strong bylaw that is clear as to what is expected and how violations will be investigated and dealt with fairly for all.
3 – Budget info. Last time we discussed the budget we put some items on the table for Admin to work with to make a new draft budget. We’ll start to discuss and debate those items tonight. An open house is scheduled for next week after Committee of the Whole.
A couple of my thoughts on the budget.
As presented last December, the budget called for a 5% tax increase on mill rate and a 0.81 tax on assessment, which worked out to about a 10% increase for capital. That was a 15% increase overall.
Council rejected that budget and called for an interim budget.
As it sits in draft form, we are about to debate a 3.5% operation increase and a 1.5% increase to cover capital (roads etc) for a total of 5%.
Below are some of the things we are faced with outside our control that in my opinion complicate this year’s budget.
This year, we have been given 60% less MSI from the province (about $1 million). That reduction equals roughly a 9.6% tax increase
We have a bill from the feds for back RCMP pay between 277,000 and 291,000. At the top end, that equals 2.8% increase.
Combined – those increases equal a 12.4% increase.
The province is also increasing the education tax by 1.5%. Education taxes are on your tax bill but are something we collect for the province and hand over to the province.
And lastly, there is general inflation, increased gas, electricity and fuels costs that we all are experiencing.
As always, I’ll continue to work hard in debating dollars, and again – all views herein contained are mine alone and do not speak for Council.
I will provide an update on social media at some point after the meeting.