Photo: Director of Finance, Laura Sanders, outlines the 2010 Operating Budget, as members of the public look on – Christine Rumleskie/Energeticcity.ca
By Christine Rumleskie
A proposed 2.5 per cent tax increase didn’t draw many Fort St. John residents to City Hall on Monday.
Around 15 spectators attended the public meeting on the 2010 Operating Budget.
Acting Mayor Bruce Christensen says no questions were asked during the discussion period, so that could be a sign that the budget is on the right track.
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The budget includes several new City staffing positions. In 2009, council approved jobs like a full time planner, two full time firefighters, and a full time community energy manager. Along with several other proposed positions, the budget expenditures would increase by $982,000.
The City has also penciled-in almost $1.7 million for regular public transit. Staff report that January’s ridership was up 29% from last January, mainly due to the route changes. Fare revenue is expected to help offset some of the City’s contribution this year. And, the Province helps through a $765,000 subsidy.
Other highlights of the Operating Budget include $1.6 million for the maintenance of the Enerplex and $1.3 million for snow removal and sanding.
However, not everyone was pleased with the looming tax hike. Spectator Theresa Mucchi-Rodgers, an unsuccessful candidate in the 2008 civic election, says the city should find a way to have no tax increase this year.
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She adds the City should start using the Fair Share money for much needed capital projects, instead of using 4.97% of the money this year for operational costs.
Mucchi-Rodgers encourages everyone to get involved in the budget deliberations before the budget is finalized in the near future.
For a copy of the 2010 operating budget, click on the attachments below.