The RM of Buckland was able to pass a budget without increasing taxes despite challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. The RM council passed their budget at the regular meeting on Monday, June 8.
According to Reeve Don Fyrk, they were able to pass the budget without tax increases and help out ratepayers who may face uncertain futures.
“We don’t know how many people are out of work and have to stay home because of it. So if you are not working you are not making any money and so it is only fair if you are not making any money to help out those if we can,” Fyrk said.
It didn’t come without some adjustments to some of the budget. The RM had another budget meeting for Monday, May 25 to further discuss the budget ahead of passing it on Monday.
“We had to slash $184,000 but we got it slashed.”
According to Fyrk they were able to keep most of the regular budget items in place.
“There was just a few things that we had to slash and people won’t even notice,” he added.
“Our budget has everything that we need we have budgeted for. To balance everything without increasing taxes is what we had to do so that is where we did the hacking and the slashing,” Fyrk said.
He explained that they did what they could for the benefit of the ratepayers in the RM.
The RM experienced a washout of the Buckland Bridge and flooding in the Shell River Heights area. The flooding exposed a problem with a berm in Shell River Heights. The RM will now have to rebuild and enhance the berm so the flooding stops in the area and protect the ratepayers. Several ratepayers attended the meeting as a delegation on Monday to discuss the problems arising from the flood.
“We had a delegation of the people it was affecting in and they are willing to split the cost of repairing the berm and building it up,” Fyrk said.
Fyrk was pleased that the ratepayers were able to find a way to work with the council to find a solution to the berm issue. This was an unforeseen expense and they were able to work together.
“There was nothing in the budget for that so if we can get them to share there and what we are doing right now is we are looking to some government sources to give some help from the government with some grants.”
They hope to have the berm project completed this year because the problems are ongoing.
“It is going to take a while to line up some money and contractors,” he said.
Fyrk has wishes that this year will not have any more weather issues for the area.
“I just hope that Mother Nature agrees with us now and that we can start getting some work done on our roads. That rain has really wreaked havoc on the roads. That one night there where it came straight down we got two inches in I bet two hours it has just been nuts so it is just little by little that Mother Nature is going to help us out,” Fyrk said.