Council finally, eventually, passes 2022 budget

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What a difference a day and 0.14 per cent makes.

After failing to pass the budget with a 2.93 per cent proposed budget hike Tuesday night, the budget committee trimmed another $225,000 off the increase, dropping the hike to 2.79 per cent, a number the committee approved Wednesday night.

It all revolved around Mayor Darrin Canniff bringing two areas of cuts to the table to open the meeting. He successfully proposed pulling about $135,000 in investment income out of general revenues, as well as more than $95,600 in infrastructure spending.

That $95.600 figure was the only amount the budget committee was to put into a hike in infrastructure spending this year.

It should be noted there are increases to infrastructure spending, due to previous years of commitment from council. However, this year, the budget committee deviated from its pledge to continue to top up spending, which has been sorely underfunded, according to administration, for years.

Tuesday night saw two deadlocked votes to pass the budget, at 9-9. A tie means a motion is defeated.

A day later, the budget committee passed the motion to approve the budget by a 10-8 vote, meaning one councillor was appeased by the added reduction.

What changed one councillor’s mind is unknown, and which councillor was swayed is also unknown, as the voting process in online council meetings is not recorded or visible to the public.

Furthermore, when the committee reverted to council for the official approval of the budget, that vote was 11-7, meaning another councillor who said no as a member of the committee suddenly said yes as a member of council.

READ MORE: Tuesday’s budget quagmire

After four sessions of budget meetings, Canniff said inflation fueled this year’s budget increase, pure and simple.

“If inflation was at zero, we would have a 1.6-per-cent tax decrease,” he said. “We were able to find savings throughout everything else. As well, we added to ambulance service and are spending $4 million more on capital. Inflation was the driver in this budget.”

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