Swift Current City Council, this evening, approved the City’s 2021 Municipal Budget on the recommendation of Mayor Al Bridal during a regular meeting of Council.
The 2021 Budget comes in at $83, 320,889.00, with $65,332,502.00 making up Operating & Utility Expenses and the remaining $17,988,387.00 comprising Capital Expenditures. Collectively, this Budget will result in no property tax increases in 2021.
During his address to City Council, Mayor Bridal explained that, during a time of economic uncertainty as a result of the ongoing pandemic, now is the time to minimize the impact that the City’s Budget will have on citizens.
“That means making difficult, yet responsible decisions. It means prioritizing ‘needs’ over ‘wants’. It means supporting local by awarding projects – large and small – to Swift Current businesses, whenever possible, allowing our local economy to rebound. And ultimately, it means not burdening residents and businesses with more tax increases in a time that calls for financial restraint,” said Bridal.
City Council and Administration were able to achieve a zero increase to property taxes in Operating as a result of finding operational efficiencies across many areas, while still maintaining service levels to the community. On the Capital side, no new debt will be required to fund 2021 General Operations capital projects, again driving a zero increase.
Under Utilities, an additional 1.8% water rate increase (on top of the annual 2.0% increase) is required to fund debt for two mandatory projects in the Water & Sewer Utility. The projects – Water Treatment Plant Residual Management and Force Main Upgrade at Lift Station Number 7 – are required under Water Security Agency regulations in order for the City to maintain its Water Treatment Plant operating permit beyond 2021.
The $2.55 million debt required for these Utilities projects will be fully funded through water rates; however, the City was able to reduce this $2.55 million debt by transferring more than $900,000 from Light & Power Utility reserves, making the total debt required $1.64 million. The additional 1.8% rate increase equates to approximately $1.87 per month for an average household of four occupants.
Staying with municipal debt, Mayor Bridal announced that by year’s end, the City will have reduced its total debt by nearly $5 million, despite the need to take on $1.64 million in new debt.
“I am very happy to see us reduce our debt load,” said Bridal. “This was something we identified as a Council when we were elected, and it’s certainly a move in the right direction.”
To view the City of Swift Current’s 2021 Municipal Budget in detail, please visit www.swiftcurrent.ca.budget21.