Draft 2020 budget proposes two per cent increase for North Battleford

The draft 2020 budget for North Battleford has been posted on the city’s website, and it looks like a small tax increase is in store for city taxpayers.

The budget is proposing an increase of two per cent for both property taxes and utilities.

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As it stands now, that would be lower than the four per cent property tax increase and 4.5 per cent utilities increase seen in the 2019 budget.

The 2020 budget comes on the heels of a difficult 2019 for the city, one that resulted in major belt-tightening at City Hall, including staff layoffs.

According to the 2020 draft budget document, the city’s intention for 2020 is “to align its operations into a proactive position versus a reactive position and communicate accordingly.”

Identified as priorities In the document is a continued focus on finding efficiencies; allocating reserve transfers so money is set aside for future projects; improving the communication and planning around the city’s financial state by highlighting the current state of such items as the Recreation Capital Levy; improving interaction around the city’s budget process with the community by soliciting public feedback; and continuing to invest in infrastructure through the Underground Pipe and Asphalt Replacement program.

More details about the budget and capital requests are expected to emerge as deliberations go on. The draft budget document can be found online at: https://www.cityofnb.ca/mrws/filedriver/Finance/2020_Budget_including_Capital.pdf

t should be stressed the proposed two per cent increases are only a proposal from administration right now; council still needs to give its stamp of approval to the proposals and could decide to go a different direction.

The schedule has also been posted at the city’s website for night one of the deliberations on Monday, Dec 2, which will primarily focus on grant requests. The schedule is as follows:

5 to 5:10 p.m.– General overview of budget

5:10 to 5:30 p.m. – Empty Stocking Fund presentation

5:30 to 5:50 p.m. – Transit presentation

5:50 to 6:10 p.m.– North Battleford Boys & Girls Club presentation

6:10 to 6:30 p.m.– Concern for Youth presentation

6:30 to 6:50 p.m. – Midwest Food Resources presentation

6:50 to 7:10 p.m. – NB Golf and Country Club presentation

7:10 to 7:30 p.m. – Battlefords & Area Sexual Assault Centre presentation

7:30 to 7:50 p.m. – The Lighthouse North Battleford presentation

7:50 to 8:20 p.m.– Police Services

8:20 to 8:50 p.m. - Fire & Protective Services

For the second deliberation session on Dec. 11, the time allotment between 5 to 6:30 p.m. is set aside for the Public Forum, where members of the public will be able to make presentations on the budget.

Those attending this forum and making presentations must register with the City Clerk in advance by Dec. 4. A maximum of seven minutes is allotted to presenters during that forum.

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