City schedules meetings on budget/rec development

The City of Brandon is opening discussion on the 2019 municipal budget and its Recreation Master Plan to the public with a set of meetings next week.

Brandonites will get their opportunity to express their opinions of the proposed 2019 municipal budget at a forum scheduled for Jan. 16 in the main foyer of Brandon City Hall on 9th Street.

The city is hosting the meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. next Wednesday that will include an overview of this year’s budget followed by a question-and-answer session led by members of Brandon City Council.

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The city is seeking feedback from city residents on various aspects of the budget, including where ratepayers would like administrators to focus its spending priorities. The meeting will be streamed live on Youtube for residents unable to attend via the City of Brandon channel.

“Preparing the proposed 2019 budget was especially challenging,” City of Brandon treasurer and general manager of Corporate Services Dean Hammond said in a press release announcing the forum.

“Funding from other levels of government has been held flat or is, in some cases, decreased. We are seeing higher than normal inflationary pressures, particularly with utilities and construction costs, and while we rely on fee revenues to somewhat offset tax increases, we are anticipating significantly less fee revenues for the upcoming year.”

Members of the public can view documents outlining the proposed budget at the City of Brandon website, brandon.ca. The city is currently looking at a municipal tax increase of 3.91 per cent, but councilors will not deliberate on the issue until Jan. 25 and 26 after the public meeting.

“With continued inflation and government grants having been frozen for several years, our budgets are a greater challenge each year,” said Mayor Rick Chrest. “Administration has worked very hard to provide a good starting point and now council will wrestle with ‘big picture’ decisions to hopefully bring us near or below inflation.”

The Jan. 25 and 26 budget deliberations among councilors, which are held in the City of Brandon Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall, will be open to the public and live-streamed on Youtube.

Brandon’s Recreation Master Plan

On Jan. 17 – a day after the budget forum – city administrators will meet with the public again, this time to discuss their Recreation Master Plan update.

A community workshop on the project is scheduled to take place in two sessions; from 3 to 5 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m.; in the Cultural Resource Centre at the A.R. McDiarmid Civic Complex on Princess Avenue. Attendees will learn more about the city’s Recreation Master Plan and will be given the opportunity to share their opinions about Brandon’s future recreation infrastructure and programming.

The public can find more information about the proposed Master Plan under the “Recreation/Parks” tab at brandon.ca.

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