Village of Halkirk at sunset, May 25, 2022. (File photo)

Village of Halkirk at sunset, May 25, 2022. (File photo)

Village of Halkirk passes interim-budget

The Village of Halkirk has passed their 2023 interim budget.

Passed during the Dec. 14 council meeting, Mayor Sherry Jamieson motioned to accept the budget presented by chief administrative officer (CAO) Tamara Sloboda, with minor amendments.

Forecasting revenues of around $414,500 against expenses of around $660,000, the village is finding itself in a situation not allowed under the Municipal Government Act (MGA): budgeting for a deficit.

Under the MGA, municipalities can run a deficit if unexpected expenditures occur during a year, but they can not budget for one. Additionally, under section 244 of the MGA, a deficit run in one year must be made up in the following year’s budget.

In order to pass the budget as balanced, the village has added a category of ‘other funding sources’ in the amount of just over $183,500. However, there was no indication of what those other sources may be in the budget.

With the budget presenting such a significant shortfall of revenue versus expenses, council is planning to release a survey to community residents for them to have their say on how the village can make up the difference.

“We definitely need the public involved to come up with ideas for other sources of revenue,” said Jamieson.

The survey will remain open for village residents until the end of January.

While the presented budget allows the municipality to operate into the new year, it is not the final budget for 2023.

The final budget will presented to council later in the spring, likely sometime between March and May, once assessments are released by the province.

According to Sloboda, if the projected shortfall cannot be made up council will have to look at increasing taxes and rental and service fees while also looking at decreasing levels of service.

A decrease in level of service could mean that the village’s garbage pickup shifts from weekly to bi-weekly, as one example.

As well, as a means to generate some additional income, and as per requirements of the recent viability review, the village recently brought in business licence fees and dog licensing requirement which, according to the CAO, will also see “increased penalties” if they are not followed.

“It will be interesting to see the results of the survey that will involve the public and let them decide how they see the (tax) dollar spent,” said Sloboda.

Local NewsMunicipal GovernmentNews

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