The City of North Battleford's 2011 general operating budget, if approved, would see an 8.49 per cent increase in taxes.
Of the increase, 6.04 per cent represents an increase to the Recreation Culture Capital Facilities levy. Council had approved a resolution to increase the residential levy by $75 and the commercial mill rate by 75 per cent, in early February.
The remaining 2.45 per cent will be seen as an increase to property taxes and covers general operating and capital costs.
Finance Director Byron Tumbach presented the tentative budget, as well as the five-year capital plan, at a City council meeting Monday night.
Council will deliberate on the budget during three sessions held at 7 p.m. March 22, 23 and 24. The sessions, expected to last 2.5 hours each, will be held at City Hall and are open to the public.
Highlights of the budget include a $50,000 increase to cover the budget requirement of the RCMP, $40,000 to revise the Fairview neighbourhood growth plan, $25,000 to assess the City's storm drain masterplan and $30,000 for beautification, which will target flags, banners and entrance signs.
City Hall has an overhaul in its future, with $15,000 set aside in the budget for consultants and $1 million in the five-year plan to make the building more accessible to the public.
Although the City Kinsmen Aquatic Centre, built in 1965, will be decommissioned once the CUPlex is completed, $15,000 has been earmarked for a study to determine possible uses for the building.
Tumbach explained there are 75 capital projects in the budget at a cost of over $37 million, of which the CUPlex represents approximately 80 per cent.
The City also benefitted from an unexpected financial windfall, Tumbach explained. In 2009, the provincial government had pledged one per cent of the revenue from provincial sales tax would be added to the municipality's operating grant. Of that one per cent, 90 per cent was paid in 2009 and the remaining 10 per cent was to be paid in 2010. Due to economic conditions, municipalities never saw that money, but now the City has been informed that remaining 10 per cent will be paid, adding an additional $558,000 to the budget.