To meet a budget shortfall, Melfort Council is examining cuts to the Main Street program and a tourism promotion grant to the Chamber of Commerce.
The city has lost $254,000 in grants from SaskPower and SaskEnergy for the next fiscal year that it has to deal with.
One proposal from the city’s staff was to cut $40,000 from the Main Street program, leaving $25,000 in that budget.
“A point was made by one of the councillors,” said Rick Lang, Melfort’s mayor. “He felt we needed the [executive] director in place until the end of September to deal with the grants that we have received already and the follow-up paperwork that was needed, so we changed the cut amount from $40,000 to $25,000.”
That leaves Main Street with $40,000 in their budget.
Council is also examining the $30,000 per year it gives to the Chamber of Commerce to operate the Tourist Information Centre.
“What we have come to realize is there’s a lot of people and different groups in Melfort working towards a similar end,” Lang said. “Many of those individuals and/or groups have some connection to tourism.”
The city is wondering if it would be possible for the chamber and the Melfort Business Revitalization Corporation, which runs the Main Street program, to work together.
Lang said discussions are still underway, but council will examine if they are getting value for the money that’s spent and if there are cheaper ways to promote tourism in the city.
Other proposed cuts include a reduction in mosquito control, as well as reductions to roads and traffic services.
The mayor estimates the potential tax increase, even with cuts, will be in the five to six per cent range. He said the cuts are a reaction to the provincial budget.
“In my mind, we pretty much had our budget solidified and ready to go, then the provincial budget comes out and of course it throws a bunch of curveballs. You have to react to that and that’s not really the way to build a budget.”