Hay River’s $13 million 2011 budget has been passed, after an exhaustive month of meetings for the mayor and council.
During Thursday night’s special meeting, an unusually quick meeting allowed the council to pass the budget before discussions crossed over into the month of February.
Hay River residents will see no tax hikes or cuts to services, but there is a deficit in the utility fund.
The concept of a mobile stage was removed from the finalized budget, but there is $4 million designated for the new fire hall over a five-year span, $225,000 to work on expanding the town’s trail system.
Council began with a motion to pass the 2011 Operations Budget, but not before Coun. Bernie Langille raised one concern with the document.
He said that he was uncomfortable with the fact that council was passing the budget with only $39,000 allotted for running the Visitor’s Information Centre, less than the $55,000 the Hay River Chamber of Commerce had requested.
“I don’t believe we can run that for anything close to that number,” he said.
“We should consider giving them the $55,000.”
Previously at the Chamber meeting last Wednesday, it was decided that if council could not provide the required amount to run the Centre, that it would be handed back over to town control.
Dave McDonald spoke, saying that it was unfortunate that this became a project that was costing the Chamber money, as that was not the original intent.
“It would be a shame,” he said of the potential of the centre being designated only for $39,000 in funding. “The whole idea was that it would not cost the Chamber any money.”
McDonald motioned for the Chamber to maintain their decision to discontinue running the centre if the town did not provide $55,000.
Council voted to pass and accept the Operations budget, but Coun. Bernie Langille was opposed.
But despite the sour note left in the hall after the centre was discussed, Council seemed confident overall with their budget.
“At the end of the day, I think we have a sound document in front of us,” said Deputy Mayor Mike Maher.