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Town elects to pitch no tax increase ahead of budget open house Dec. 4

It’s budget season for the Town of Bonnyville.

In the lead-up to the budget open house at town hall Dec. 4, council debated whether they should pitch one with no increase in taxes, or a budget with a 1 per cent increase.

They decided on the zero per cent tax increase.

Mayor Gene Sobolewski during council on Tuesday, said he thinks everyone needs to do a “belt-tightening” with the economic outlook upcoming in 2019, and voted to pitch no tax increase.

“Particularly next year, there’s going to be some people that are hurting,” he said.

“I’d like to encourage council to bring that two per cent down to zero or a half-percent because there’s some low hanging fruit here,” said Mayor Gene Sobolewski.

Keeping the inflation rate in my mind, councillor Brian McEvoy favoured a one per cent increase.

“I’ve seen councils over the year do this in the past get into this zero, zero, zero routine, and then all of the sudden ‘whoa we need 7 per cent.’ I would rather see 1 and possibly 1 again next year, just to try and stay close to inflation so we don’t get hurt in the long run,” said McEvoy.

The second draft of the budget on Tuesday originally had a 2 per cent tax dollar increase and was balanced using over $300,000 from the general operating reserve.

The capital budget has a deficit of roughly $340,000 slated.

Town council will listen to the feedback of residents on Tuesday and use that to guide them for the final draft and third reading of the budget on Dec. 11.