Kneehill County is tapping into a reserve it put away for a rainy day to balance its budget.
Kneehill County Council continued its budget deliberations at its Tuesday, November 28 meeting. Going into the meeting, council was looking at an over $2.6 million operational shortfall.
When debating the budget, they were able to whittle that number down by phasing its increase in capital equipment contributions over two years, which reduced its shortfall by approximately $500,000. It also delayed the transition of reallocating its investment revenues from operating budgets to its reserve.
Reeve Kenneth King noted that with a residential tax rate change of 4 per cent, farm of 17.5 per cent and non-residential of 3.75 percent, a slight reduction in the residential-non residential ratio, “At this time it is leaving us with a $516,000- and change shortfall.”
In discussing how to address that shortfall, council considered using its Revenue Stabilization reserve.
“…Which is money we have collected in the past to allow for bumps in revenue in the future,” said King.
Deputy Reeve Jerry Whittstock explained, “The reason that Revenue Stabilization Fund was set up for exactly these purposes. We knew there were going to be these deficits coming into the budget. The budget was going to be something we had to deal with.”
Councillor Laura Lee Machell-Cunningham was not supportive of the suggestion.
“I have to go against the grain, but I am not in favour of using our Revenue Stabilization fund. I would be more in favour of cutting back on some of our new initiatives because we simply can't afford that,” she said.
Reeve King noted that if the council decided not to implement some of its new, initiatives such as more weed control and increased mowing the savings would be less than $300,000 and would not cover the shortfall.
Deputy Reeve Wittstoick made the motion to use the fund to balance the budget. Council voted in favour, with councillors Cunningham and Carrie Fobes voting in opposition.
The budget will be brought back on December 12 for approval.