2020 shows results of strong fiscal management for Humboldt: Behiel

·2 min read

While 2020 was a year full of challenges, Mayor Michael Behiel said he is proud of what the city has accomplished this year.

COVID-19 did not make things easy for the council, he said, but that is all the more reason to celebrate the accomplishments that have taken place this year from communication improvements like the city’s rebrand, the creation of the Protective Services Department, and the new website, to the $4 million in capital and infrastructure projects, including Centennial Park, the paving of Saskatchewan Ave. and 101st Street and Seventh Street, and some water main replacements.

While these have been projects long overdue, Behiel said the city’s financial success has been a real highlight for him.

“We've done $4 million worth of infrastructure work and we haven't borrowed any money to do it. [That] shows you how efficiently we've got that budget tuned and how much we've done to be responsible to our citizens and businesses.”

The city’s finance department and administration have planned everything so well this year, he said, and this success is a testament to their hard work.

Behiel is also proud of how the city council and staff have responded to COVID-19. Support from the provincial government through the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program meant funds were available for multiple much needed projects including stormwater management and the Highway 5 turning lane into Centennial Park, and support from BHP has allowed some additional funding for technological upgrades to the city’s council chamber video conferencing equipment meaning they can more easily broadcast council meetings and safely physically distance from the public.

With a small tax increase and $3.15 million in capital budgeted for the upcoming year, Behiel wants to see the momentum of 2020 continue. Even with the uncertainty of COVID-19, Behiel believes that the City of Humboldt is ready to weather anything that comes their way.

“It could always take a turn that we're not anticipating and there could be some real issues that we will face. And the response was we will deal with that as it hits...We're expecting that we would be able to relocate by funds from other places and still be able to weather that quite well.”

From the city’s perspective, Behiel said he is pleased with the overall outcome of the city’s operations, and the council and administration together will continue working diligently to ensure the future in Humboldt stays that way.

Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist