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Budgets nearly a wrap for Grand Forks council

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
April 5th, 2012

Over $114,000 of community funding requests are still undecided for Grand Forks city council as they approved three readings of their five year financial bylaw at their last meeting, yet the increase to general revenue is still over six percent.

Council has included three community requests in the budget that was put forward at their Monday, Apr. 2 meeting, but funding requests from organizations linked to the regional district funding proposals are still on hold until council receives more information on the possible joint funding.

“These items are still on the table, not resolved and awaiting further information for council on regional participation,” said mayor Brian Taylor.

This covers requests from the Phoenix Mountain Ski Hill Society, Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, Kettle River Arts Festival and nine other organizations.

Organizational funding that is included in the plan is $10,000 in additional funding for the Grand Forks Art Gallery Society, $50,000 for the Boundary Museum Society, and $4,500 for the Boundary District Arts Council.

There will be an opportunity to amend the budget before the final reading at their next meeting on Apr. 16, explained chief financial officer Cecile Arnott.

Other increased costs are associated with additional funding for operations $98,000, committee work for the year at $20,000, hanging baskets for $5,000 and exterior painting of the Scout Hall, a city owned building.

“I believe that in the economy and the way things are I think $10,000 to paint a building is quite steep. I think that $10,000 can be used for many more worthwhile causes,” said councillor Michael Wirischagin as he justified his motion to remove the painting of the hall from the budget for the coming year.

But council agreed that the maintenance of the hall is important to stay on top of over the years and Wirischagin’s motion was defeated.

“It’s just going to further deteriorate and become less and less used, you see them all over the place – dilapidated buildings that are falling apart. The estimate is a bit high, but it’s just a budget,” added councillor Gary Smith.

The impact of the increase on taxation above the previous budget level has not been determined, but Arnott commented at a previous budget meeting that for an average house valued at $200,000 four percent will mean about $30 per year.

Final reading of the financial plan bylaw will be done at council’s next meeting where their final decisions for the year will be made.

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