A provisional budget based on the assumption of zero percent changes in taxes was approved 6-1 by Williams Lake city council Tuesday.
Councillor Scott Nelson says they do not want to be reliant on every time they need money to ask taxpayers.
“I think the most important thing is that we had to find growth and we needed to find growth otherwise the community would be paying for the rest of their lives through taxation. In these last three years, I think we’ve turned the cycle. We’re seeing some fantastic growth and economic growth inside the City of Williams Lake.”
Nelson says over the last three years they have looked at several key areas to reduce costs including a corporate reorganization which saved between $2-3 million dollars.
“One of the things that we look at obviously when we look at these reports that come forward is it lays out a very clear path. We had so many projects that was taxed for and paid for inside the municipality that we chose we wanted to get those projects done. That’s why we haven’t gone for any tax increases but we still put out the grants. We’re putting out grant applications monthly for the City of Williams Lake in the short term and the long term.”
Council now according to Nelson will be looking for public input for their guidance on the provisional budget that has the flexibility for change.
Councillor Laurie Walters who remained vocal on her concerns of having a zero tax increase year after year says that the provisional budget was something she could not support and voted against it.
“I remember very clearly when I was door knocking taxes had gone up 16.5%, water and sewer had doubled,” Nelson said.
“So when we walked in our budgets were nearly half the capacity. We had projects that were done and paid for; millions and millions of dollars that stacked up. So for us, we just stood back and said how can we do things better. This council has not cut a service in this community. In fact, we have enhanced it.”