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Sunday , 1 August 2021

Bonnyville residents can look at the budget numbers on Tuesday

Bonnyville residents can hear the financial outlook of the town and ask questions of administration and council on Tuesday.

The Town of Bonnyville is hosting their budget open house for 2020 on Dec. 3 at 6:00pm at Council Chambers.

At last Tuesday’s council meeting, town council hashed out the second draft of the operating and capital budgets with the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range money still undecided.

With the Town’s ID 349 money committed to their costs of the regional waterline, deficits in the millions are tentatively projected if nothing changes.

“This year it’s quite dire,” said Mayor Gene Sobolewski on The Morning After.

“We had about a million dollars in deficit and administration has done a lot of cutting and things like that to bring it down to about a half a million. We’ve got our equipment reserves, we’ve got some serious things that we can cut if we need to,” he said.

“The future ID 349 funds are to be used towards the waterline and the repayment of the town’s portion. So this is going to cause a bit of an issue.”

The capital budget which sets aside the town’s spending for projects and infrastructure also needs a trim of roughly $6 million to get out of a deficit.

“We were able within those deliberations to be able to have the $5 million to be cut out if necessary. But let’s see what happens with ID 349. Because it’s so critical in terms of how it plays out and it’s so integral to the town moving forward.”

‘What are necessities?’

Under the municipal government act, towns and cities must pass a tentative by the end of the year.

However, town council can make adjustments after Jan. 1, which Bonnyville council may do if there’s no resolution with the CLAWR money.

“If on December 31, there’s no inclination, or there’s no idea as to what’s going to happen with ID 349 in January, February, we’ll have another meeting and then make the hard cuts,” said Sobolewski.

“What are necessities? What are nice to haves? Where are areas that we can cut, for example, 47th Avenue? Do we proceed with that work this year? Do we postpone it? Work that needs to be done with a swimming pool. There’s about $900,000 worth of work that needs to be done. Do we move forward with it, don’t we?”

Sobolewski said he’s not in favour of a tax increase to residents, saying it would be a “drop in the bucket” toward the deficits.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.