City looks to land sales to help balance budget

By Geoff Lee

December 1, 2016 12:00 AM

The City of Lloydminster is considering the sale of some assets to balance its 2017 budget.
It’s one of several strategies to increase revenue by $7.1 million and cut costs by $3.3 million to wipe out a $10.5 million deficit by Dec. 12 when the final budget is approved.
Those strategies reduced the deficit to $594,652 in the second draft presented to council on Monday as information.
The sale of assets could help the city to raise $3 million in additional revenue, but there will be no fire sale of city lots according to Lisa Buchan, director of business services.
“We are staying away from that with the lot sales,” said Buchan, who presented the second draft of the budget to council along with the strategies.
“So the sale of assets, it would be broader spectrum for the scope of the assets, but a little more strategic.”
Buchan said, as an example, the city’s old public works shop could be incorporated into a sale.
“Different items like that would be put forth, not just necessarily the lots.”
During discussion in council, it was noted the matter of what assets are being considered for sale would be brought up during an in-camera session.
“Before we say we’re putting particular pieces of land up for sale, I think we want to know where we’re at—what we can discuss about that,” said Mayor Gerald Aalbers.
He noted the city also has about $9-10 million of assets in residential property.
Coun. Jonathan Torresan said it depends on what the city is intending to sell to determine if $3 million was a reasonable target to raise.
“I didn’t look at the October month (land sales), but in the month prior it was about $500,000 to $600,000, so to say we’re going to get that high, I don’t know,” he said.
He also suggested a reason why the matter was being discussed in-camera, and not in council.
“There could be specific properties they intend to sell that they are not talking about because there’s likely some sort of negotiating factor they wouldn’t want to disclose to the public,” he said.
Aalbers noted in-camera talks are usually reserved for matters of land, labour and legalities.

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