Yellowknife draft budget suggests councillors will face hard choices

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Yellowknife draft budget suggests councillors will face hard choices

In a broad strokes outline of what next year's Yellowknife city budget might look like, one thing is clear — councillors will face some difficult choices in the coming months.

City administration released a preliminary budget overview for the upcoming year during a meeting of municipal services committee Thursday.

Sharolynn Woodward, the city's director of corporate services, told city councillors there isn't enough money for all the projects the city has scheduled next year.

- FROM 2017 | City of Yellowknife's draft budget proposes big tax hike

"It's kind of like getting ready for a trip," she said. "When you're getting ready to pack, you put all the clothes that you might possibly think you might need to take out on the bed. They're not all going to fit in the suitcase, so you're going to have to make some choices ... Right now, we're at the laying out the clothes on the bed stage."

There are a number of significant projects the city hopes to begin next year, including breaking ground on a new state-of-the-art pool, and repairs — such as replacement of the city's current submarine pipeline and construction work on Old Airport Road.

Woodward warned against delaying projects. She said these big-ticket items will only add to what the city already has planned for future budgets, compounding the problem.

Thursday's presentation was part of a broader effort to include councillors in budget deliberations earlier on in the process, so they have more time to consult and evaluate financial proposals.

Councillors are scheduled to give feedback on the preliminary budget and the city's suggested priorities at a city council meeting on Sept. 4.

Yellowknife's annual budget is expected to be finalized in December.