First look at city budget for 2019

Yorkton Council took its first public look at its 2019 operating and capital budgets at its regular meeting Monday.

The proposed budget includes a 2.9 per cent increase in taxation revenue for the 2019 year.

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“This includes 0.9 per cent for future capital projects, and two per cent for all other operational expenditures,” explained Ashley Stradeski, Director of Finance with the City at the regular meeting of Yorkton Council Monday.

Stradeski also noted, operating increases do remain below the estimated 2018 Consumer Price Index increase of 2.8 per cent (August 2018 value), through efficiencies and cost reducing measures.

For a home valued at $250,000 the added cost of the 2.9 municipal tax increase will be about $4.50 per month, or $54 per year.

While Council was obviously on-side with the numbers having instructed Administration to keep any increase under three per cent, Mayor Bob Maloney did add a note of caution.

“Our deficit in infrastructure continues to grow. We’re not catching up,” he said, adding he would have been happier with a bit higher increase dedicated to setting aside funds to deal with aging infrastructure. “… We are increasingly falling behind.”

The capital increase “is primarily directed to road and construction projects,” continued Stradeski.

A report circulated to Council Monday noted, planned road construction is unprecedented and includes Broadway East resurfacing, Darlington East and Mayhew reconstruction, Darlington Overpass rehabilitation, York Road East paving, as well as continuing work on Circlebrooke Drive and numerous other locations throughout the city.

The 2019 increase in taxation revenue as submitted, amounts to a 2.9 per cent increase in tax revenue or $685,000.

Major areas of cost increase include;

• Increase in Council Remuneration - $27,000. In 2019, changes to the Federal Income Tax rules will decrease the amount of take-home pay by Mayor and Council. This increase is intended to offset this and create similar take-home pay for Council.

• Increase due to new Marketing Coordinator - $52,000

• Increase in Planning, Engineering and Administration - $187,000

• Increase in Community Development, Parks & Recreation - $221,000

• Increase in Public Works Operations - $156,000. Some areas of increase due to: Street Re-surfacing - $98,000 and Snow Removal- $58,000

• Increase in Protective Services (Fire & RCMP) - $72,000  

*Total of $871,000     

The total is higher than the increase to taxes, but has been offset by efficiencies and reductions in other areas, explained Stradeski.

On the operating side of things the City of Yorkton brings in approximately $48.7 million in total revenue.  This revenue is used to fund $37.3 million in operating expenses, $2.5 million in debt payments, $3.9 million to future capital projects and $5 million towards capital expenditures, noted Stradeski.

The Capital Budget was prepared using $4,085,000 of funding from taxation revenue as it has been for the past number of years.

This budget includes a 0.9 per cent tax increase for capital, to go to future capital and debt payments. The majority of our streets and arterial roads are aging and in poor condition, and without continued increases in funding it would take approximately 99 years to repair/replace the existing road network in its entirety. Ongoing capital tax increases will be required to fund the planned roadways, detailed the report to Council.

Key Capital projects planned for 2019 and 2020 include:

• Paving Broadway East from Myrtle Avenue to Highway 9 - $1 Million. This continues work done in 2018 with the repaving of Broadway West;

• Reconstruction of the main storm water drainage outfall for the City, from Dracup Avenue and York Road to Highway 9, emptying into Yorkton Creek - $3.8 Million. Eighty per cent of the City’s storm water flows through this area and the current condition of the underground pipes in this key part of the city’s drainage system  has created a choke point on the system;

• Sanitary sewer trunk line from Dracup Avenue and York Road to Highway 9 - $3.4 Million;

• Highway 9 bridge reconstruction - $3.4 Million. This includes replacement of the sewer line and storm water culverts under the bridge, plus replacement of the bridge roadbed. The storm water culverts are failing and will not adequately handle water flows during heavy rainfall, creating another choke point on the storm water system;

• Darlington Street overpass rehabilitation (Highway 9) - $800,000;

• Mayhew Avenue reconstruction - $2.6 Million. This project will see reconstruction of Mayhew Avenue from Morrison Drive South to Darlington Street including the Darlington Street intersection. This continues work done replacing underground infrastructure and repaving of Mayhew Avenue from Broadway Street East to Morrison Drive South in 2017;

• Darlington Street waterline replacement - $1.5 Million;

Darlington Street Roadway reconstruction - Dracup Avenue to Mayhew Avenue rehabilitation - $3 Million.

Of the $30,308,000 in revenue, $24,136,000 comes from property owners paying taxes. The pie chart breaks this down into the various departments. Please note that this is not a breakdown of a property owner’s individual tax bill, but rather a breakdown of the $24,159,000 taxation revenue, which funds both operating and capital expenditures.

Council directed Administration to publish the December 10, 2018/2019 Operating and 2019/2020 Capital Budget report in its entirety on the City’s website for public review, and further that Administration bring a subsequent Budget report to the January 21, 2019 Regular Meeting of Council for adoption.

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