Melfort approves 2024 budget with 6% tax increase

Melfort’s city council approved a six per cent increase in their municipal levy, along with $9.9 million in capital expenditures.

The budget was approved at a Feb. 20 special meeting.

City administration said the bulk of the proposed spending in the 2024 Capital Plan is for building an engineered landfill and closing the existing landfill. This expenditure will require the city to borrow $8 million. The City of Humboldt increased their municipal levy by 4.58 per cent.

The second largest expense was the approval of a new ladder Aerial Pumper fire truck for $787,500. The City of Melfort’s current ladder 221 truck is not certified to perform any rescue operations that require the ladder to be extended or interior firefighting/rescue operations.

Other capital items in fleet and equipment the city approved were:

Capital expenditures for parks and recreation approved were:

Capital expenditures in Transportation approved were:

The city approved a new Northern Lights Palace’s scoreboard at a cost of $100,000. Parts and bulbs were becoming increasingly hard to find and if a new controller were ever required, it would make the scoreboard unusable, said in the report. The Northern Lights Palace was built in 1991 and the current score clock is original to the building.

The NLP pool roof top #7 is not operating and cannot be fixed due to parts being obsolete. Roof top #8 is handling the current load to keep the pool operational, however if roof top #8 goes down the facility will have no air handling system.

A GMF Civic Facilities study for $180,700 is to assess the technical and financial feasibility of achieving net zero carbon emissions at these 13 municipal facilities and determine an action plan and practical path forward for each facility. The study will determine the most effective net zero design and implementation plan needed to get each facility to net zero carbon emissions over time. A customized solution will be developed for each facility, including financial analysis in an incremental overtime approach.

The sidewalk renewal program will continue the sidewalk installation on the north side of the street and finish enhancements at the high school crosswalk and include flashing pedestrian beacons.

The street renewal program will see the 100 block of McKendry Avenue East, new sidewalks, curbs and full roadway reconstruction (new structure and pavement).

The City of Melfort also approved two new positions: a human resources/communications co-ordinator and community development co-ordinator. Both positions will be full-time, out-of-scope positions. The city will begin the recruitment process in mid-March for these positions.

“This budget reflects our commitment to providing essential services to our residents while maintaining our aging infrastructure,” Mayor Glen George said. “Despite the numerous obstacles municipalities face when preparing a budget, the collective efforts of administration and Council have resulted in a balanced budget that prioritizes the needs of the community while maintaining fiscal responsibility.”

The city increased the municipal levy by 4.16 per cent in 2022 and in 2023 saw an increase of 4.5 per cent to the mill rate and five per cent to the base tax. In 2022 the city spent $11.2 million on their capital budget and $7.9 million in their 2023 capital budget.

Nicole Goldsworthy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, SASKTODAY.ca