Releasing the numbers
Hay River budget may go public tonight

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

HAY RIVER (Dec 07/98) - It's the time of year to separate the wants from the needs.

With any luck and a lot of work, Hay River residents will get their first chance to see the town's draft 1999 budget at a council meeting Monday night.

"We're a little bit behind in terms of getting the document in council's hands," said town administrator Charlie Scarborough, adding the process was slowed by the recent departure of the town's finance director.

Scarborough said Friday he was hoping to have the draft budget ready to be tabled tonight.

"That's my target," said Scarborough. "We've had discussions with council. Administratively, we've been going through the exercise here for the last couple or three weeks."

The town has a total budget of about $14 million, including $8.2 million provided by the territorial government to cover the cost of delivering health and social services.

There has been no property tax increases in Hay River for the past four years, and Scarborough said that's the target going into this year's budget debate.

"Council has given me some direction to keep it at zero or within inflationary guidelines and we can do that," said Scarborough.

"It's a question of balancing out the wants and the needs and that's where we're at right now."

Many community service groups aiming at getting funding from the town have already made their requests, said Scarborough. Those who have not, can make their wants known to individual councillors or to town administration.

Right now, the budget is scheduled for final approval Dec. 14. That date may change depending on how long council's debate of the document takes.