Budget Enhancements Approved
Prince George, B.C. – The requested enhancement for the Prince George RCMP has been approved.
Superintendent Warren Brown asked for two more officers although those officers would not be expected to arrive until September of this year. The cost of the enhancement for 2017 would be $113,273. It will add an additional 0.12% to the tax requisition, pushing the overall increase in dollars needed from taxation to 2.84%
“It is difficult” says Mayor Lyn Hall, “But what really concerns me is that we can’t fill these positions.” Although the detachment had the approval to add three officers last year, those three didn’t arrive until December. “As I look at it and consider what is happening in the community, I will be supporting this.”
Councillor Jillian Merrick could not support the addition of two officers, saying she would like to see those dollars used for other projects that are underfunded.
The next enhancement request was to add more lifeguards to the Aquatic Centre. The latest safety audit indicates there is a need to increase the number of lifeguards to meet current safety standards. The cost of this enhancement is $247,478 and boosts the tax requisition by 0.26%. Councillor Albert Koehler could not support the increase, partly because it pushes the overall boost over the 3% mark, “It’s going too high for me” adding he doesn’t want to be the “Lone Wolf” on Council in the effort to keep tax increases lower. Councillor Koehler was the lone wolf in opposing the enhancement.
Two enhancements that will eventually have an impact on the tax levy have been approved. The budget calls for two projects, “The Collective Impact” and “MyPG Community Grants” and both are covered for 2017 and 2018 through grants that have been secured. The financial impact of the two won’t be part of the City’s budget until 2019. The two enhancements have been approved unanimously.
Parks services called for an increase to its budget in order to carry out improved weed control from medians, boulevards and hard surfaces in the City. The enhancement would add $81,051 dollars to the budget and boost the tax levy by a further .08% .
The final enhancement request is for a Student Mentorship program. The request is for $6 thousand dollars, and allowing for rounding, the total additions of all enhancements to the tax levy will see the levy increase by 3.18%