Budget talks have begun for the Town of Bonnyville and council is preparing for the worst.
On Tuesday, council members looked at the first draft of the operational and capital budget for 2020 which shows almost a $6 million deficit towards projects and infrastructure.
The deficit comes with the millions of ID 349 dollars being pulled until the six communities involved in the deal come up with a new agreement, requested by the Minister of Municipal Affairs Kaycee Madu.
“That had some massive consequences for the Town of Bonnyville,” said Mayor Gene Sobolewski on The Morning After.
“In our operating budget, we were basically about a million dollar short. Sometimes we cover that off with transfers from reserves and things like that. Well, there really isn’t a lot in the reserve pot. It’s a matter of what services or what things are we literally going to trim back and cut back on,” he said.
“However it was the capital budget that is going to take the biggest hit. So we’ve got a number of programs, everything from some of the library funding in terms of the capital, the building and things like that with the pool, the water lines or water replacements, asphalt overlays, all those sorts of things.”
Town council will discuss a tax increase to help offset a deficit, but with a decision with ID 349 possible before the budget passes third reading at the end of the year, he said he wasn’t interested in raising taxes.
“I know I was very vocal in saying this is not the climate to do that,” said Sobolewski.
“We don’t want to borrow and extend our deadline. We have enough to worry about with the paying for the waterline and things like that. That’s going to take a large chunk of that particular budget. So until we have the ID funding resolved, we’re in a massive shortfall.”
Sobolewski said he anticipates cuts to MSI funding in the provincial budget on Thursday and potentially more costs for policing and health care offloaded to municipalities.