Budget deliberations to continue next week

Prince Albert City Hall/Daily Herald File Photo

Prince Albert city council will continue budget meetings on Tuesday, Jan. 12 after they were unable to wrap things up following two days of debate at City Hall.

Council worked their way through the police service, public library and Downtown Business Improvement District budgets, among others, before halting discussions on Wednesday.  External agencies, like the Prince Albert SPCA, and internal matters like corporate services, fleet services and the Fire Department were also discussed. The Capital Projects budget is among the items scheduled for debate on Tuesday.

The fire administration budget was approved at a cost of $1,170,670, while the fire prevention operating budget was approved at a cost of $303,280, and fire prevention was approved at a cost of $303,280. Fire fleet and equipment was funded at $639,670 and building maintenance was funded at $86,500. Council defeated an amendment from Ward 2 Coun. Terra Lennox-Zepp to fund two additional firefighter positions.

The Community Services portion, which includes funding and maintenance for the Alfred Jenkins Field House, Art Hauser Centre, Arts Centre, Bernice Sayese Centre and community clubs, was also the source of a lengthy discussion. Director of Community Services Jody Boulet explained to council  that these volunteer-run clubs are facing challenges operating because of COVID-19.

Rinks now require supervision to ensure provincial COVID-19 guidelines are followed. There are also additional cleaning costs while revenue from indoor ice rentals has dropped. In response, council voted to up the 2021 budget for community clubs by $20,000 to $396,960 during Thursday’s deliberations.  

Council also approved budgets for Cooke Municipal Golf Course and other structures, and discussed longtime agreements with the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division over outdoor sports fields.

On Thursday council also discussed public works administration and matters such as street lights, sidewalks and snow management.  

The final change to the mill rate has yet to be decided.