Yellowknife councillors adopted the 2017 budget Monday night, and it comes with a 1.23 per cent tax increase.
Council has spent the past week going over this year’s budget line-by-line. In the end, a number of high-profile cuts were made and a number of key initiatives were added.
The most notable cut was a $1.9 million project aimed at revitalizing the city’s downtown lot at 50 Street and 50 Avenue. During deliberations, council decided the city wasn’t quite ready to move forward with the project.
Council also voted to reduce the budget by:
- $75,000 by removing a strategic review
- $230,000 by removing the re-siding for the pool’s exterior walls
- $110,000 by removing solar panels from Community Energy Plan projects
- $27,300 for updates to the city’s website and applications
A number of items were also added to the budget, including $222,000 to hire four new firefighters by next July. Councillors also voted to set aside $160,000 for the installation of a climbing wall at the Yellowknife Fieldhouse.
A number of expenses associated with combatting social issues also made the final cut, including $100,000 for a new street outreach services program and $50,000 for a homeless employment program pilot project.
Some other items added to the budget include:
- $300,000 to hire community safety officers, dependent on legislative changes and receipt of matching funding from the GNWT
- $50,000 annually to increase grant funding
- $75,000 to conduct a new downtown multi-purpose building study
- $265,000 for improvements to the School Draw parking lot
The city’s original draft budget proposed a tax increase of 2.55 per cent.
The 2017 budget approved Monday includes revenues of $81,506,000 and expenditures of $80,634,000 including $31,627,000 in capital investments.
Last year’s draft budget called for a tax increase of 2.87 per cent before council whittled that down to zero.