Estevan's City Council convened tonight with a few items of their agenda including passing the 2018 City Budget.
"Well, I think it's a fair budget," shared Mayor Roy Ludwig. "We have spent some time pouring over it. The staff did tremendous work on it."
"We're looking at a 1% increase this year which we feel with a lot of the other savings that we've had through reduction and attrition we were able to obtain. So I think it's a fair budget and one hopefully that the community can be satisfied with."
There had been a few issues raised with members of council concerning the utility rate increase.
"We will continue to work through that. In the past when we did water main replacements, the City paid 50% and the homeowner paid 50%. We're looking at putting a little bit more money aside and then as we move forward and do improvements, it's paid for and the homeowner doesn't have to pay anything."
"But we have the transition from when the people that have paid. So we have to work a process that they can be satisfied that they didn't pay and the next people pay."
Ludwig added that he expects the City Manager, Jeff Ward to have a report shortly so council can have discussions. The utility portion on the City Budget won't be determined until March. Further details on the City Budget can be found online.
One highly debated topic on the agenda was regarding the Civic Auditorium. The City was prepared to proceed with repairs but after having been denied insurance coverage, they were left with no choice but to close its doors.
"We went through four, five, six insurance companies and all with the same answer. The next step now obviously it will remain closed because we can't get insurance and now council will have to decide what the next step will be. Whether that be demolition or salvage, we'll have some decisions to make."
Also decided tonight was Council decision to support Envision Counseling and Support Centre with a sponsorship of $1,000 per year until 2021.
"They had requested $2,000. We had asked them to come back with information with what the other surrounding municipalities were doing and it was roughly $1,000 so we thought at this time, we would do the same."
The donation will not be coming out of the $5,000 earmarked for community support rather it will come out of the existing budget.
"And then we'll still have $5,000 for the other requests for the year, until we use that $5,000 up and that will be the end for that calendar year."
The new City Land Development Manager, Richard Neufeld was introduced tonight.
"We're very happy to have Richard and we know he'll play a key part in our staff and our team moving forward. He brings a lot of experience to the table and we're very happy we were able to get Richard to come to Estevan."