Fernie City Council has approved the 2020 budget, 2020 tax rates and Five-Year Financial Plan, with considerations structured around difficulties brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City said that as it recognizes the challenges residents and businesses are faced with so far this year, the 2020 budget was built around a zero-percent tax increase.
“When the COVID-19 crisis hit, we quickly directed staff to rethink the proposed 2020 budget and sharpen their pencils to find savings to offer some relief to residents,” explained Mayor Ange Qualizza. “I want to thank staff for being nimble and delivering a budget that maintains a high level of service and funds key projects in 2020.”
Fernie said that the key projects in question include major infrastructure replacement in the Ghostrider Commercial area, completing the provincially mandated housing needs reports, creating an updated master plan for parks and recreation, arts and culture and facilities and developing the terms of reference for a Climate Action Plan.
“The focus of major projects that are funded in the 2020 budget was to deliver on Council’s Strategic Objectives, protect the safety of citizens, safeguard critical infrastructure and prepare for future investment,” said the City of Fernie.
According to Fernie, in order to accommodate a zero-percent tax increase, all indoor recreation facilities would be closed for three months, and some deferrals and reductions in capital spending and corresponding reductions in transfers to some reserves.