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Editorial: How to stretch a dollar

Somehow YBID has squeezed a lot of programming out of a rather static budget revenue wise.
YBID June 30 2
June Days are just one of the programs from YBID. (File Photo)

YORKTON - It is interesting how an organization can grow and thrive through the years of what might be a rather static budget but governments seem to always be in the need of more money.

That dichotomy was brought into focus again at the regular meeting of Yorkton Council Monday.

On the one hand there was Council finalizing city mill rates for 2024 for a combined operating and capital budget which sees property taxes climbing 3.5 per cent.

Within the material circulated Monday it was noted that 2.5 per cent of that increase goes to the operation side to maintain the same services as provided by the city in 2023.

Now we all can appreciate inflation is a real thing, we see that at the grocery stores and in countless other ways as prices have climbed for many goods and services. Things cost more so you need more dollars to pay for them, or you simply reduce buying.

Or, of course if you are a government with taxation powers, you raise taxes. That has become pretty much the norm at the municipal level locally for years now.

That is fine in terms of maintaining a level of service that in most areas is very good, it is also not something that is reasonably sustainable in terms of the ability of taxpayers to absorb increases every year moving forward.

Then there is the Yorkton Business Improvement District which gave its annual report to the regular meeting of Council Monday.

The local business organization with a definite service club approach to community enhancement, gets the lion’s share of its funding via the city.

At present YBID receives $113,850 from the city set levy, and $100,000 via a city grant, out of total revenues of $290,850.

What is interesting is that while the levy fluctuates slightly based on properties in the YBID zone, the total funding has been basically the same since 2012.

That means that YBID has dealt with whatever inflation has thrown its way, with largely the same revenue for a dozen years.

And, in that time YBID has not cut back on projects either. If you look around their efforts can been seen in various ways, from being a funding partner on street lighting, to being the driving force behind the Clean Sweep Program that keeps the downtown neat, to the popular and visible flower pots in the city core to the annual Santa Claus parade.

And, then there are the YBID organized June Days, a relatively new endeavour that highlights local cultures in June.

Somehow YBID has squeezed a lot of programming out of a rather static budget revenue wise.

While this year YBID has asked for a $20,000 grant increase – long overdue one might add – maybe the city could learn a few tricks about how to do more without the usually associated tax hikes.