According to the preliminary budget discussed on Nov. 4, 2012 during a special public budget meeting of Village of Burns Lake council, residents can expect a balanced budget for 2013, with a five per cent tax increase.
Developing capital reserves for future upgrades to public works remained a constant theme through the meeting. With a new water tower and associated pipe work expected to run close to $2 million in cost as well as the looming need to replace the arena chiller at a cost of $140,000, council was concerned that reserves be allocated at a rate that will offset the amount that might need to be financed at a later date.
Councillor Susan Schienbein noted that reserves for water and sewage works were being reduced.
“It appears to me that we’re actually decreasing the reserves that we’re putting into both sewers and water,” she said. She recommended increasing these reserves rather than decreasing them, and she requested an adjustment to water and sewer rates to reflect that need to increase reserves.
“At some point we have to bite the bullet and do it,” she said.
Deputy director of financial services Carla Fox pointed out that the current budget included an increase to capital reserves and so coun.. John Illes and Mayor Luke Strimbold suggested bringing back a budget for the next meeting that included an increase of approximately $100,000 to reserves for water and sewer works.
Fox reported that an increase to sewer and water reserves would involve an increase to user rates in the range of 15 per cent. That possibility will be discussed at the next budget meeting, which will be in camera on Dec. 11, 2012 with a further public budget review meeting on Jan. 15 2013 before the budget is formally adopted at the end of January.