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City details finances, funding and more at open house

Representatives from the City of Cold Lake laid their cards on the table when it comes to their 2020 budget Wednesday evening. Mayor Craig Copeland, CAO Kevin Nagoya and a few city councillors were on hand at the Lakeland Inn for the city’s 2020 budget open house.

A pair of groups in the afternoon and evening packed the conference room to hear about where taxes come from, what gets spent on where and what the future of ID-349 funding could look like. Copeland says it was a great way to explain to residents what they get for their tax dollars.

“We just want Cold Lake residents and the area to understand what municipal taxes are all about and what residents and businesses contribute to the city and also the tax revenue that industry ays through the Air Weapons Range and what it’s meant to the city of Cold Lake.

A slide presentation touched on the history of the ID-349 agreement from when it was first implemented to re-allocation of funds by the NDP government in 2017 and into today. A meeting on Monday is expected between Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu and municipalities in the area who previously received funding from the plan. Copeland says the city is still waiting to hear what future money could look like.

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“All the municipalities and the settlements involved are each getting about 30 minutes of the minister’s time and then in the evening everyone will be together and we’ll see what the future holds for the 349 funding.”

The city is required to pass a balanced budget by the end of the year but uncertainty in funding has the mayor and CAO calling that job “extremely difficult”.

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