Budget discussions began last night, with city council receiving a $1.1 million ‘wish-list’ of projects.
Mayor Mike Ruttan says safety and infrastructure are council’s top priorities for their $800,000 projects budget.
Ruttan says council is committed to 1% departmental budget increases and a 3% annual tax increase as set out in their 5-year financial plan.
Staff said the city will earn an additional $3 million for infrastructure spending in 5 years if council stays the course.
Council wants to see improvements in city revenues, and staff will be told to look for areas of possible increase this year.
This is also the year the Industrial Tax Break ends for Catalyst and Western Forest Products, although the city has yet to meet with company officials.
City CAO Tim Pley said further budget improvements will be earned by slashing the consulting engineering budget by half, and stopping the overtaxing for policing, which has been happening for many years.
He said there is already a surplus of more than a million dollars in the police budget, and in the past some of that overflow has been spread amongst other city departments.