Estevan city council discussed the 2020 budget at its meeting on Monday night.
This year’s budget does not include a property tax increase for the second straight year, but it does include a six per cent increase on the consumption portion of the water utility. That increase won’t take effect until July 1, and it is expected to generate about $100,000.
Council approved the consumption rate increase after spending about 20 minutes discussing the issue. Some members of council were in favour of it, saying they would rather see it than a property tax increase. Others initially uggested council should look for efficiencies elsewhere in the financial plan.
But they ultimately opted for the utility rate increase to take effect in July rather than Jan. 1, as was first proposed.
This year’s budget includes such projects as the completion of the water intake project, which is expected to be finished this year and will shift the city’s primary water source from Boundary Dam to Rafferty Dam; continued work on the expansion of the Estevan Police Service’s building; and the resurfacing of Highway 47/Souris Avenue South from Fourth Street to Perkins Street, a project that is to be cost-shared with the provincial government.
It also includes a continued effort to pay down the city’s long-term debt.
The budget will be discussed again at council’s next meeting Feb. 10, when the council is expected to approve the financial plan. City manager Jeff Ward encouraged people to submit their thoughts on the document to city hall.
This week’s edition of the Mercury will have more on this story.