Budget could cost city $2.4 million, with more pain to come

Prince Albert City Hall -- Herald file photo.

Provincial budget cuts could put a $2.4 million hole in Prince Albert’s finances this year, according to Mayor Greg Dionne.

The city budget for 2018 is expected to take an even bigger hit, the mayor said, with a loss of about $3.5 million of revenue.

The numbers are estimates. The mayor has been sitting down with city administration to calculate the impact of the provincial budget, tabled Wednesday. He said much of the damage comes from reductions in municipal revenue sharing and the loss of money from SaskPower and SaskEnergy, which will no longer pay grants in lieu of property taxes.

The bad news could force changes to this year’s city budget. The mayor has already started to examine where council can trim spending to deal with the loss.

“I’ve met with the city manager; he’s met with department heads. We’re looking at what we have in the budget and what we can live without,” Dionne said. “But at the end of the day, it’s up to council.”

He said the city will do everything it can to hold the line on property tax increases.

“We are going to try to hold our commitment to 1.5 (per cent),” Dionne said. “But once we confirm all the figures I will be convening a meeting of the budget committee to discuss our options.”

For more on this story, please see the March 24 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.