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Brandon City Council Approves ‘Very Palatable’ 2016 Budget


January 16, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Brandon, MB – Two days of information gathering and thorough deliberation by Brandon City Council this weekend has yielded an approved 2016 municipal operating budget increase that Mayor and Councillors agree is “very palatable to the Brandon taxpayer.”

The Council-approved, $81-million operating budget represents a municipal tax increase of 0.59%, which means a residential property assessed at this year’s average will see an increase in municipal taxes of $10.54 over 2015’s levels.

In signalling his approval for the budget, Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest noted how far this City Council has come since their first municipal budget experience one year ago.

“I’m extremely proud to be head of this Council and I think our citizens will be proud of what Council has come up with as a financial plan for the whole organization,” Chrest noted. “We’ve delivered an excellent result, but have also embraced some pretty big initiatives and some extraneous issues without making any service cuts and, if anything, enhancing service.  To me, it has been an extremely significant effort on all of Council and City Administration’s part to run this fine City and still keep the costs in line for the taxpayer.”

Dozens of additions and deletions were debated over the course of the day; however, at the close of Council deliberations, the following changes to the Financial Plan were approved:

  • A reduction of $50,000 from the Community Development Department’s special initiatives budget;

  • A $26,000 increase in funding to the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation, to be dedicated to affordable housing initiatives;

  • The addition of $50,000 in bridging funding to ensure the Aboriginal Community Coordinator position remains in place while awaiting senior government funding;

  • The addition of $85,000 in funding to assist the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba’s continued Dome Building restoration;

  • The addition of $80,000 in operational funding for the Brandon General Museum and Archives Inc.;

  • The addition of $50,000 in additional funding for Renaissance Brandon, based on matching provincial dollars;

  • The addition of $500 in funding for the Brandon-Westman Christmas Cheer Registry to correct a 2016 granting omission;

  • An addition of $10,000 in support of Brandon’s Samaritan House Ministries;

  • The addition of $500,000 in funding for the Keystone Centre’s long-term capital plan, based on matching provincial dollars;

  • An addition of $15,000 to augment the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee’s heritage plaque recognition program;

  • A reduction of $100,000 from the Brandon Fire & Emergency Services overtime budget;

  • The removal of $30,000 in capital funding for the design of the Cultural Resource Centre’s Community Kitchen;

  • The removal of $125,000 in capital funding for the Recreation Master Plan refresh process;

  • A reduction of $102,123 from the A.R. McDiarmid Civic Complex debenture;

  • An addition of $124,110 to fulfill a local funding contribution requirement for the Brandon Regional Health Centre’s capital project;

  • The reduction of $200,000 to recognize savings from unplanned staffing vacancies; and

  • A variety of reserve appropriation reductions totalling approximately $350,000

“I continue to be pleased with Council’s collaborative budget process and am happy that we were able to approve the budget in such a positive fashion,” added City Manager Scott Hildebrand. “As always when budget reductions are mandated, it does present some challenges for us as we move through the year, but I am confident that we can approach them all positively and achieve solid results.”

The Council-approved budget will now proceed to public hearing stage, a date for which will be determined in the spring.


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