Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Council increases operating budget and tops up goodwill fund

For the Lakeland Regional.

Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland
The City of Cold Lake has revised its budget as a result of the slow economy.

The goodwill fund has been increased to compensate for the larger than normal volume of funding requests.

At the May 24 meeting, Cold Lake City Council moved $35,000 from its contingency fund to its goodwill fund.

Council normally spends between $60,000 to $100,000 a year on goodwill requests. This year, council has already allocated over $56,000 for goodwill.

“I think it’s a sign of the times,” said Mayor Craig Copeland. “People are challenged to find any money right now from industry, so they’re coming to us for a lot of requests.”

Despite all of the groups asking for extra funding, council is still attempting to rein in spending. A request by the Cold Lake library for $56,280 will most likely be sent to the fall budget before being discussed.

“I’m sure what will happen is that the library will be deferred to the 2017 budget deliberations, as our contingency money right now is under $200,000,” explained Copeland. “We don’t have a lot of money to play with right now.”

Copeland added that he was sympathetic with the library’s needs.

“I can appreciate their frustration and I like their renovation designs.”

However, Copeland maintained that helping move projects along is what the goodwill fund is for. To that end, council approved a $2,500 grant for the Cold Lake Sr. AA Cardinals and a $3,000 grant to the Cold Lake Agricultural Society for their upcoming Cold Lake Stampede during the meeting.

“When you compare to other things we’ve funded in the past, the $2,500 to $3,000 fits in line with what we normally do,” said Copeland. “It was a number that council was comfortable in supporting.”
Changes lead to operating budget increase Council also increased its operating budget from $59.8 million to $60.4 million to accommodate new revenues and expenses.

Corporate Services General Manager Linda Mortenson explained that the increase was needed to cover new expenses that had not been foreseen at the original budget deliberations. An additional $645,800 in revenue was received from the MD of Bonnyville, along with a $50,000 surplus from the Family Community and Support Services. The extra funds were depleted by a $100,000 shortfall from the Gold and Winter Club.

Council decided to put this $595,800 surplus towards the John Howard Society to the tune of $88,500 as well as expanding the Golf and Winter Club contracted services by $75,000.

Council also decreased the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) allowance by $92,000 and placed $24,300 into the contingency fund to offset the money moved to the goodwill fund.

Council doesn’t expect any further changes to the budget this fiscal year.

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