Council starts budget meetings with minimal cuts

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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Mayor Greg Dionne’s assertion that council will do whatever they can to push administration’s 4.5 per cent budget increase even lower has started off slowly.

 

Mayor Greg Dionne shares a laugh during Thursday’s budget committee meeting. 

During the first two-and-a-half hours of a Thursday evening budget committee meeting, only one item from administration’s proposed budget has been denied.

The $45,000 purchase of telestaff software for the Prince Albert Fire Department was stricken from the budget -- a piece of equipment intended to improve scheduling and emergency callback for off-duty firefighters, as well as provide other scheduling assistance.

This means council has so far denied only one of the 25 recommendations administration has brought forward.

After an in-depth presentation by Prince Albert Police Service Chief Troy Cooper (the details of which to appear on the Daily Herald website this evening), council’s first approval of the evening was the police budget, at $14,297,390.

This budget includes $144,470 in cost increases for operations and a $245,000 increase in capital requirements.

Council then approved cost increases to their own departments.

The mayor’s office will see a budget of $160,450, including a $4,720 increase over last year’s budget.

This includes a $700 vehicle allowance increase, $120 more toward conventions and delegations, and $960 cell phone budget increase.

City council’s operational budget will increase by $22,310, including a councillors’ indemnities increase of $18,140, a vehicle allowance increase of $1,600, an increase to conventions and delegations of $880 and cell phone budget increase of $3,840.

Last year’s budget process began with Coun. Martin Ring suggesting council set a precedent by not increasing their personal budgets -- a suggestion council ignored, voting in favour of a $31,000 increase.

This time around, council approved their departmental increases without any discussion.

The Daily Herald will report more on Thursday’s meeting after it wraps up some time after 9 p.m. 

Organizations: Daily Herald, Prince Albert Fire Department, Prince Albert Police Service

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