Town looks at operating budget cuts
Town administration will be looking at what a 5 per cent cut to the 2019 operating budget would look like after receiving direction from council earlier this month.
Councillor Fred Makowecki requested corporate services to see if such a cut is possible ahead of budget planning scheduled before the end of this year. The town had an operating budget of just over $11.3 million in 2018, and a 5 per cent cut would mean administration would need to find about $500,000 in the existing budget.
“My thought process is that I’ve seen everyone have to pare back and the economy, in general, in the province being a tough one, I wanted to see whether there was room in there,” Makowecki says. “We have some initiatives we’d like to do going forward that is part of our strategy to attract and retain businesses.”
Part of the reason for the request is the possibility of a new conservative government in the spring elections, and municipal governments and public sector organizations across the province are wondering whether there will be funding and budget cuts if Alberta is under a new conservative leadership.
“If there is a change of government are there going to be austerity measures? Looking at that, if we run the exercise then we’ll know better what we can and can’t do.”
Part of the town’s operating budget is salaries, and administration has a number of vacant positions including directors for infrastructure and community services. The additional salary costs, once the positions are filled, shouldn’t be an issue in finding budget cuts, Makowecki says.
“This is definitely a part of the direction we want to go in and an integral part of that.”