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Bust the budget

In this panoramic photo, Jeff Elliott, facility manager at the Sportsplex, looks over the pool as it is refilled with water recently.

COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

In this panoramic photo, Jeff Elliott, facility manager at the Sportsplex, looks over the pool as it is refilled with water recently.

City bureaucrats have proposed a 2.85 per cent increase in property taxes next year.

Some homeowners may see their taxes rise even more — or perhaps less — than that, however, depending on how their property’s assessments may have changed.

The tax hike will bring in $1.1 million.

That’s in addition to extra money that will be raised through things like increased fees.

But instead of trying to scoop in more money, the city could also cut costs.

With that in mind, Brandon Sun staff spent a few days looking at all the budget documents that are available online on the city’s website, brandon.ca.

The proposed 2014 budget is there, as are the approved budgets from 2013 and 2012. Included in those documents are actual spending amounts from 2011 and 2010.

We went through to see where the city might be able to trim some of their spending — instead of raising taxes.

Here are a few of the lines that caught our eye:

• $1,100,000 -- The amount that the city needs to raise in extra taxes, or to cut from its spending.

• $1,800,000 -- The amount that the city plans to spend on a complete rebuilding of the beleaguered Sportsplex pool mechanics. Keeping the pool open was an election promise for the mayor, but there are plenty of people who will think this is throwing good money after bad.

• $704­­­­­­­,000 -- This is money that the city plans to spend replacing police vehicles in 2014. Patrol vehicles are replaced every three years.

• $221,383 -- This is the budgeted amount to send city staff to conferences in 2014. Last year, staff enjoyed ‘working weekends’ in places like Chicago, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and St. John’s. The budget for next year is nearly 50 per cent higher than the city spent on conferences in 2010.

• $419,881 -- This is the amount that the city plans to spend on staff training next year. Although the bulk of the money will go toward protective services like police and fire, there’s plenty of training money available for other departments. This amount is more than $137,000 higher than what the city spent on training in 2010.

• $800,000 -- The amount that the city’s IT department plans to spend laying a fibre optic loop all the way up to the airport.

• $23,745 -- The city will spend nearly $2,000 a month sending staff to luncheons.

• $72,859 -- The amount that the city has budgeted for business travel mileage next year. At 35 cents per kilometre, that would be enough to make more than 500 back-and-forth trips to Winnipeg.

• $48,555 -- Cost of hiring a housing specialist, to start in May. This will increase to an annual budget line in 2015 of $75,745.

» Brandon Sun

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 7, 2013

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How about leasing the Wheat City Golf Course to someone who actually knows how run a profitable business?

We do not need well paid Brandon City workers cutting grass .

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City bureaucrats have proposed a 2.85 per cent increase in property taxes next year.

Some homeowners may see their taxes rise even more — or perhaps less — than that, however, depending on how their property’s assessments may have changed.

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City bureaucrats have proposed a 2.85 per cent increase in property taxes next year.

Some homeowners may see their taxes rise even more — or perhaps less — than that, however, depending on how their property’s assessments may have changed.

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