File photo.

Epic winter caused higher snow removal costs

City forced to spend extra

A record breaking winter forced the city to spend an extra $205,000 for snow removal last winter and council has had to amend the city’s five-year financial plan to account for the unplanned cost.

The 2017-2021 Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw had been given third reading at a council meeting on April 24 but on May 8, Carla Fox, director of Financial and Computer Services asked council to change the bylaw to account for an additional $130,000 in additional snow removal costs and $75,000 in associated repairs to plows and graters.

The bylaw was further amended to account for $60,000 being spent on public washrooms for Station Square.

The five-year plan outlines projected tax increases until 2021 and calls for a 6.4 per cent tax increase this year, a 5.2 per cent tax increase in 2018, a 4.3 per cent tax increase in 2019, a 4.1 per cent increase in 2020 and a 3.9 per cent increase in 2021.

The city will be dipping into its reserves so the extra costs will not affect the tax rate.

The Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw must be approved annually by May 15 to allow council to adopt a tax rate bylaw. Council formally adopted the plan at a special meeting on May 11.

At that meeting council also formally adopted this year’s tax rate bylaw, which had previously received three readings. The city can now begin the process of collecting property taxes.