This year, the budget for the City of Swift Current is angling towards a more conservative approach.
Even so, Swift Current residents will see a property tax increase of 3.99 per cent in 2023.
"That hurts everybody, it really does," addressed Swift Current Mayor Al Bridal outright. "I think everybody's going to realize that there's just nothing we can do about it. We could have had a zero per cent tax increase, but if we did that, we would be taking from our capital reserve, and then all we're doing is stealing from ourselves."
This budget is based on a more restricted spending frame of mind for the City of Swift Current. They will endeavour to preserve existing infrastructure and abstain from undertaking too many projects during the year to conserve money during this time of inflation.
Still, a budget totalling over $81.5 million does have some room to complete the already partially funded projects.
- The Plewis Automotive Group Inclusive Park ($304,820)
"We got three-quarters of a million dollar grant last year from the federal government for that inclusive park, and then Plewis Automotive Group put in $100,000 for naming rights right out front so we could buy a couple more pieces. There's $850,000 there, and we don't have it all spent yet, so we want to spend that."
- Expanding the Chinook Parkway path extension/expansion ($550,000)
- Stockade Exterior Siding ($300,000)
"That's going to be a huge improvement for our citizens, and then it will save us, over the course of the next 10-15 years, that much in heat. If something happened and we needed $300,000, that's something we could do next year."
Part of the plan to keep within the budget is to stretch infrastructure that would normally be up for replacement and updating a little farther. This gamble is a roll of the dice, with the City already encountering a setback on March 19.
During the evening, a water main suffered a severe failure, resulting in flooding on 10 Avenue Northeast in the 800 block. The ten-foot section is expected to cost nearly $1.3 million to repair.
"They thought it would last, and it's not going to. It's one of those things that just needs to be done."
Bridal said that for those instances, they might have to tweak the budget. Moving money around to make repairs or changes when needed for small problems, there is also a possibility of having to take out a loan for anything too big to stretch the budget over.
This year it's expected that paving and pothole maintenance will need an allocation of $800,000. That will go towards resurfacing areas and dealing with divots on public roads.
Another expense that will excite hockey enthusiasts is purchasing a new "Zamboni" for S3 Arenas. Replacing the old Olympia 2012 unit, this ice-scraping and water-spreading unit will cost $180,000.
If the City can dodge any unexpected issues with its careful planning and organizing, they are lined up to reduce the debt by a significant amount in 2023.
"I think it's $5.4 million will be paid off this year because that is the only debt we plan on taking this year," revealed Bridal. "All the other things are being funded through grants or utility dividends."