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M.D. of Bonnyville wary of future financial revenues ahead of budget

The M.D. of Bonnyville is moving towards an interim budget to be finished soon.

Reeve Greg Sawchuk had called the upcoming budget a “reset” for the municipality.

He said on The Morning After that the M.D. is being cautious of the economic outlook in the area and the continued lack of investment and work in the oil and gas sector, the biggest taxpayers for the municipality.

“The whole lack of reinvestment in the industry means that assessment drops off very quickly,” he said.

“The drop off is significant. And in a case like a company like CNRL, just in order to keep their operations level, so the same amount of output, you’re looking at 600 wells a year that have to be drilled. And that’s just not happening,” he said.

A declining tax base is what the municipality will prepare for, although one not in the same financial duress as Bonnyville or Cold Lake with ID 349 uncertainty.

CNRL did say more drilling could happen in the Lakeland if the province’s curtailment policy was lifted.

“Pipeline capacity still. We’ve got a lot flowing out of here. There’s not a whole bunch of room left in those pipelines anyways. And so until we have other ways of getting the oil out of not only this area, but you know, obviously out of the province, then we’re in for some slow times,” said Sawchuk.

“That’s what we’re kind of preparing for. And so in doing that we get back to looking at our core services, what is most important to our residents?”

The M.D. will pass an interim budget before Dec. 31 but can adjust the budget until April 31.