Town looks at op­er­at­ing bud­get cuts

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Kyle Smylie The Drumheller Mail

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.”

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