City budget is adopted, minus grant requests

The 2020 operations and capital budget for the City of North Battleford has been adopted.

The budget was approved in a unanimous vote by council Monday. The budget includes the three per cent increase to property tax and the two per cent utilities increase that were agreed to during budget deliberations that wrapped up in December.

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For the most part, the budget approved Monday was unchanged from the end of deliberations in December.  

The one budget item still to be fully agreed to is third-party grants, and that took up most of the discussion Monday.

Council had previously agreed to cap the amount of third-party grants at $69,000. That cap remains in place but items included within that cap are not yet finalized.

One of the third-party requests had been from Concern for Youth for $20,000, which would have gone towards retaining an additional outreach staff member for the organization.

The final budget document did not include funding for the organization, and that was something that concerned Councillor Kent Lindgren.

“I am a little bit concerned if we continue to not fund them at any level they will cease to exist,” said Lindgren.

Lindgren called for some partial reinstatement of funding for Concern for Youth. He made a motion that would have amended the allocation by shifting $3,500 to Concern for Youth, while at the same time reducing the allocations for the Battlefords Empty Stocking Fund and the Sexual Assault Centre by $500, while also removing completely the allocation for Catholic Family Services.

In the end, council voted to table the motion to the next meeting, mainly to get further information. City administration will be seeking some written submissions from the organizations potentially impacted, in advance of a final decision on third-party grants.

On a related note, council did hear from Tricia Kennedy who made a presentation of Boys and Girls Clubs of the Battlefords seeking grant funding. That funding is included within the budget.

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