Cold Lake says the 2019 budget will need a three percent tax increase to balance. The city announced that both the 2019 operating and capital budgets had been given the thumbs up in council. The operating budget runs at around $52 million. Mayor Craig Copeland says the budgets are a balance between planning for growth and saving for a rainy day.
“The 2019 budget finds a balance between staying the course in hard economic times, tackling our infrastructure deficit, and making progress in areas our community will need to accommodate growth when our economic times turn around.”
For the seventh year in a row, due to an ongoing dispute with the Government of Canada over payment in lieu of taxes for CFB Cold Lake, the city has budgeted a significant allowance for uncollectible taxes.
Recycling and water rates in the city are both being raised. The city says residents can expect an extra $6.98 on monthly utility bills. City officials say the rise in price is due to “capture the operating cost of water services.”
Cold Lake transit saw new buses in 2018. The new budgets do not add a fare for using them. Copeland says the challenging times played a part in that decision.
“With a small and relatively new transit system and the challenging economic times, council decided not to implement a fare at this time, but save money by looking at what inefficiencies can be found.”
Council says they won’t be giving themselves a proposed wage increase in 2019 due in large part to the economic downturn the area has seen. The plan had been raised to offset new federal tax law on councilors wages.
A breakdown of budget 2019 for Cold Lake is available on the city website.