Handi-bus purchase to proceed, but not with gas tax money

The City of North Battleford will live up to its funding commitment for a new Handi-bus, but in a different way than council anticipated.

Council had previously approved funding of $39,900 plus taxes for its share of the Handi-bus purchase; the province has committed to $55,000 and the Town of Battleford $16,500. 

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The city had stated at the time that it would use federal money it received from the gas tax to pay for its share.

However, City Manager Randy Patrick broke the news to council Monday that they couldn’t go that route after all. Patrick explained that if the city used gas tax funds, it meant the province would take away its own $55,000 commitment.

“You can’t use government resources to match government resources at a higher government level,” said Mayor Ryan Bater to reporters.

The plan now is for the city to proceed with funding its share of the Handi-bus purchase by finding an alternative source of funds within the city. One possibility floated by Patrick is to create a reserve that would be dedicated to Handi-bus purchases in future years.

A resolution was approved authorizing the city manager to investigate the appropriate source of funding for the approved Handi-bus, and to report back to council in September.

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