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Cold Lake gives thumbs up to 2020 budget in uncertain times

The City of Cold Lake has a budget plan in place. City council announced they had given the OK to a 2020 operating budget while amending the capital budget.

The plans call for just over $44 million in operating spending and $8.8 million in capital projects. Money is expected to be raised with a 1.11 percent municipal tax increase, but that idea isn’t set in stone as the effects of trying to contain COVID-19 play havoc on the local economy.

“This is very much a hold-the-line budget that seeks to get our community through some very uncertain times,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “With the price of oil and the COVID-19 situation causing uncertainties, the future of the ID 349 still in limbo, and the city’s intermunicipal collaboration framework being uncompleted, we’ve held fast to as much as we can, but we will have to put many capital projects on hold as we see what the future has in store.”

Highlights of the 2020 Operational Budget include:

· Continuation of most levels of service, including funding for a Family and Children’s services program.

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· $90,000 to assist with the implementation of a crime reduction strategy, including an additional RCMP member.

· A matching grant of $62,000 for a power cot and load installation in two ambulances.

· An approximate five per cent increase in recreation rates.

· Closure of the north arena.

Highlights of the 2020 Capital Budget include:

· Fleet and equipment replacement worth about $1.32 million.

· Environmental infrastructure projects (including waste management, water, wastewater and storm water projects) totaling $1.65 million.

· Roadway infrastructure totaling about $3.17 million.

· Facility infrastructure projects totaling about $2.05 million.

· $440,000 in spending to upgrade information technology systems.

· $130,000 in recreational infrastructure spending.

Council thinks they’ll have a tax rate set by May. Full budget paperwork will be made available on the city’s official website.

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