There could be good news on the horizon for the city of Quesnel’s finances.
Mayor Bob Simpson noted during a special council meeting the city is expecting a “reasonable” surplus from last year to bring forward into 2021.
City staff were told in 2020 to tighten up wherever they could because of COVID-19, and it appears that strategy could pay dividends.
The meeting was council’s first chance to look at the draft of the 2021 operating budget.
The budget will be voted on later this month, and first estimates call for a tax increase of 4.6 per cent.
Councillor Ron Paull wanted to reduce the budget by $250,000 to bring the tax increase down to 3 per cent.
Many of the items Paull targeted to postpone or reduce in the budget were funded by the provincial COVID-19 safe re-start grant. That grant’s money must be used in a certain way, and even if it was pulled from the budget it wouldn’t result in a reduction of taxes.
The future of the city’s finances are somewhat in question with two massive potential expenditures not in the capital or operating budget as of yet. Repairs and updates at the Moffat and Johnston bridges are not in the five-year capital plan, and could see the city scrambling to fund repairs in the near future.
Simpson added the city was attempting to get higher levels of government to take over the maintenance costs of the Moffat Bridge, noting the city believes it shouldn’t have been transferred to them in the first place.
The draft budget is available on the city’s website.
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