Social spending prioritized in Yellowknife’s 2017 budget

Mayor Mark Heyck during the 2017 budget deliberations. Photo courtesy: City of Yellowknife.
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Yellowknife Mayor Mark Heyck is hopeful elements of the 2017 budget will address some of the social issues seen in the capital’s downtown core.

“There were a lot of priorities identified,” Heyck told Moose FM. “Things that councillors want to try to achieve over the remainder of the term and they identified some budget items to help back that up.”

Related: Yellowknife’s 2017 budget comes with a 1.23 per cent tax increase

Earlier this year, the city issued a survey to residents, gauging what issues the community wanted to see made a priority in the budget.

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Of the 10 community issues listed, homelessness was ranked as the top priority.

Now, the city has committed to more social spending next year, including $50,000 towards a homelessness employment program and $100,000 for a mobile street outreach service.

The mayor hopes the investments will help make a big difference in the community.

“I think council made some strategic investments,” said Heyck.

“When we went out to the communities to consult on what our priorities should be, many of the things that we heard about were social issues related to things like homelessness and addiction issues that we see on the streets of downtown Yellowknife.”

Heyck says the city is planning to partner with the GNWT on many of its upcoming projects to help leverage funding.

The 2017 budget will bring a tax increase of 1.23 per cent for residents, less than half of what was originally drafted.

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