Cost-savings discussed during operating budget debate

Red Deer council moves to day seven of deliberations on Wednesday

  • Jan. 18, 2017 4:24 a.m.

City council considered the utility-supported portion of the 2017 Operating Budget today, as well as a list of cost-saving measures, both those recommended and not recommended by administration.

Regarding the cost-savings, those recommended by administration had already been included when the budget was initially tabled.

Council approved one additional cost saving on the tax-supported side. Due to the economic downturn, the City has seen reduced need for recruitment advertising. Council decided to fund $10,000, or half of this year’s recruitment budget, through reserves, with a report on the impact to come in the future. As a result of that decision, the tax rate increase was reduced to 2.14%.

One cost saving that was not approved was the elimination of snow clearing from the Waskasoo Trails, which could have taken $29,904 out of the tax-supported budget this year. However, as noted by the City Manager Craig Curtis, this measure was not recommended, as the walkable trails have been popular with residents.

Reports circulated had incorrectly stated that Curtis was in favour of the cost saving. He took a moment to clear the air, saying in normal economic conditions, he’d advise expanding snow clearing.

“But given the challenges of this year’s budget, some of the changes we’re having to make, I’ve recommended that we certainly not cut back,” he said.

On the utility-supported portion, council approved the hiring of another lab technician at the water treatment plant. The position is needed for increased monitoring of the distribution system for corrosion, microbial indicators, disinfection byproducts; some in-house regulatory testing; creating and testing new lab methods; filing more detailed reports; covering for the existing tech.

Currently, there’s only one technician, working almost double the hours, according to the budget report, which also states current staffing levels put the City at risk of a water quality incident. Council expressed strong support for the position, considering the safety implications.

Just Posted

WATCH: Alberta Party leadership candidates present visions to Red Deerians

Party members will vote for their new leader on Feb. 7th

City sells former RCMP building, land to province

Construction of new courthouse in Red Deer one step closer to reality

City increases parking rates by 25%

Red Deerians expected to pay increase in early fine payments

RCMP make arrests after bank robbery

Two suspects are in custody after using a needle to rob a CIBC in north Red Deer

WATCH: Lacombe and Red Deer Chambers prepare members for cannabis legalization

Luncheon speaker educates businesses on marijuana policies

Suspected Toronto serial killer targeting gay community arrested

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page, to be inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame

Canadian band to get top honours at 2018 JUNO Awards

B.C. out of the running for Amazon’s next headquarters

Toronto is the only Canadian city left in the running despite the province backing Metro Vancouver’s bid for new Amazon headquarters

Post interest rate hike debt tips

What to do about your debt and mortgages after the interest rate hike

Foreign workers sleeping in Alberta Burger King basement

Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant

Court application halts release of bread price-fixing documents

Bread price-fixing documents won’t be unsealed Thursday, Loblaw says

Pharrell and N.E.R.D to headline NBA All-Star halftime show

11-time Grammy winner Pharrell and his hip hop-rock band N.E.R.D. will headline the halftime show at the 2018 NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles

Heritage Minister wants zero tolerance for harassment in entertainment industry

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly had two meetings to discuss harassment in the film, TV and theatre worlds

Most Read