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Atikokan township council/YouTube screen shot, April 15, 2024

Atikokan council searches for more budget savings

By Randy Thoms Apr 18, 2024 | 4:40 PM

Atikokan township council hopes more savings can be found before giving approval to a budget this year.

Council was presented this week at a special meeting with a proposed document that included a 4.9% tax increase.

Mayor Rob Ferguson has some concerns with the number, giving the challenges residents and businesses already face.

“The tax rate in Atikokan is high for businesses and residents. I think it’s our obligation to do what we can to look after the businesses and the residents of Atikokan,” says Ferguson.

Councillor Jim Johnson sympathizes with the Mayor but feels there is also an obligation to maintain services residents have come to enjoy.

“And the big cry that we all know of is our infrastructure and our roads. If we keep passing minimal tax increases, we’re not going to satisfy that need. So somewhere along the line, we’re going to have to bite the bullet a little bit harder to achieve those goals,” says Johnson.

Councillor Gord Knowles says he has no problem looking for more efficiencies but worries about going too far.

“And the more pennies that we’re looking to pinch, those are going to amount to services that are cut. Things that don’t happen. Things that get put off. A lot of these positions that we’re in now are because the buck has been passed, and we’re past the point of passing the buck, says Knowles.

Administration has been asked to take a look at the numbers to see if further savings can be achieved.

Mayor Ferguson says he would favour a tax increase closer to 4%.