Prince George City Council has opted to defer the final vote for this year’s possible tax hike until February 8.

The full budget, worth about $139 million, was approved tonight (Wednesday).

However, the question still remains on if the proposed two per cent increase will be offset by the $6.11 million Safe Restart Grant for local governments.

The largest portion of the increase lies with snow clearing.

This year’s budget of $10 million was approved, up $1.5 million from the year before.

It accounts for 1.33 per cent of the proposed increase.

Councillor Garth Frizzell says a lot of departments took measures to scale back in order to increase the snow-clearing budget.

“We know we have approved 139 million dollars more or less. That has to be found. Now the question is how much of this is going to be attached to the levy,” said Frizzell.

“If we pay it down from other sources (safe restart fund) this year, then it’s still 139 million. Next year, it may go up to 141 or beyond. We can kick the increase down the road a bit but it still will have grown.”

The challenge, he explains, is going to be existing contract costs paired with inflation.

If was pointed out during the meeting tonight that the city already spends $10 million a year on snow and the proposed increase would just reflect existing costs.

Meanwhile, the RCMP came to Council with a request for two more police officers on Monday during initial budget talks.

Superintendent Shawn Wright made the ask, explaining the new officers would be trained to deal with social issues in the community.

The officers would be given mandatory firearm training and other less-lethal use of force options as well as learning de-escalation tactics.

“That cost would add up to $96,000 this year, but it would likely not take effect until, if approved, the end of the year,” said Frizzell.

However, it would mean an additional cost of $365,000 for next year, to remain ongoing for three years and ‘probably beyond.’

The base police budget, worth $28 million, was given the green light but Council will be voting on the possible additions on the 8th.

Full agenda here: