City’s financial plan moves closer to adoption

Cranbrook’s five-year financial plan moved closer to adoption following three readings by council on Monday night at city hall.

The five-year plan, which includes this year’s budget, was developed during discussions with senior staff over the last few months.

For property owners, the 2020 budget comes with a 2.88 per cent municipal property tax levy increase, which breaks down to a 1.88 per cent increase, along with the 1.0 per cent dedicated road tax.

“I commend the staff for the job they did on the budget because it was a lot of work on maintaining a hold on the costs, so I think it was a great process and a job well done,” sad Mayor Lee Pratt, noting that factors such as higher fuel costs and the new provincial employer health tax, among others, drove cost increases.

The city is budgeting $90 million in revenue, with sources that include $28.6 million from property taxes and $20 million in transfers from reserves and surpluses.

Operating expenses are expected to tally $68.7 million, while capital expenses are budgeted at $22 million.

During budget discussions, the plan for the industrial lands formerly owned by Tembec took priority, as staff and council debated development options for the property. Discussions eventually settled on budgeting $2.5 million for the installation of deep services and up to $2.75 million for installing shallow services.

The city also wrestled with the budgetary fallout from roof repairs and replacement at Western Financial Place. The aquatic centre portion is already complete, while work on the arena barrel roof is expected to get underway this year.

The entirety of the Western Financial Place project is estimated at $5.3 million.

According to a staff report, two information packages on the five-year plan were picked up at city hall, 17 copies were downloaded from the city website, while also viewed 240 times online.

One handwritten submission outlining concerns over skunk overpopulation and the deer cull was received by city staff.

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