Quesnel City Council decides to reinvest budget surpluses to fight inflation and fuel cost increases – Quesnel Cariboo Observer

Quesnel City Council got a small increase to its 2022 budget, with city staff finding three areas that could be cut, leaving councilors to make a decision.

At a town council meeting on Tuesday, March 15, councilors were presented with two options for the money. Keep the $221,336 savings in the operating budget to fight inflation and gas price increases, or reduce taxes for 2022 by 1.28%.

The council decided not to cut taxes, instead approving of keeping the savings as a buffer for years to come, with councilors Ron Paull and Martin Runge voting against the motion.

Staff found that the transit budget was consistently in excess, that landfill costs had increased more than expected, and that the City’s contribution to snow removal reserves could be reduced by $50,000.

Earlier this year, city council approved a 6.9% tax increase for the 2022 operating budget.

Kari Bolton, the city’s director of corporate and financial services, said the savings for an average home would be around $13 if the money was taken out of the budget completely.

The motion to put the money back in the budget was moved by Scott Elliott and passed 5-2.

After making the motion, Elliott noted that the reason for a nearly 7% tax increase in 2022 was that the board used COVID-19 savings to reduce the tax burden last year, forcing them to catch up. their delay.

“I understand the desire to lower the (tax) number to 5.7%, but in fact what’s happening is that potentially $221,000 will come back to bite us next year,” he said. -he declares.

“We’re lining up the next tip to deal with that before dealing with regular inflation or regular costs.”

Councilor Runge expressed support for using only half of the savings to increase the operating budget, but found himself in the minority in the vote.

The city’s transit fund has consistently operated with a surplus in recent years, including $90,000 in 2021. Bolton’s report noted that normally the transit surplus has been used to fund reserves equipment, but taxes should instead be reduced by $50,000.

Landfill costs also increased, with solid waste posting a surplus of $157,000. A future estimate of landfill costs in line with past years means that no tax money is needed to fund solid waste.

In the last decade of snow removal, only two years were over budget by 30%, with the majority of years over budget by less than 20%. The snow reserve will now be set at 30% of the overall snow budget.

The council also reduced its travel budget by $5,500.

Earlier in the meeting, councilors heard more good financial news. A new estimate from the board of retroactive RCMP salaries from 2017 to 2021 was significantly lower.

“The total estimated retro salary accrual is $834,040, and we expect actual payout to occur in 2022,” reads a report written by Bolton.

Bolton added that the city is ready to pay their amount whenever they receive the actual bill.

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