In order to try to balance the 2013-2014 budget, the province will immediately freeze hiring in the public service, freeze salaries for public sector management staff and reduce spending in areas like travel budgets. De Jong says the government will need to find $241 million in 2012-13, $389 million in 2013-14 and $483 million in 2014-15 in order to deal with the natural gas market impact on royalty revenues.
This comes on the heels of the results of yesterday's September sale of crown petroleum and natural gas rights. It resulted in another dismal bonus bids total of $1.5 million dollars, which puts the total for the last six monthly sales, at about $16.8 million. That is less than the total from last September's sale alone, which was $17.2 million.
It also means the year-to-date total, with three quarters of the year's sales now behind us, is still less than $100 million. At $97.7 million, the province remains on pace for its worst year in bonus bid revenue since 1998.