Council will take their first crack at the 2014 budget tonight when they sit as committee of the whole.
The meeting, beginning at 6 p.m. in city hall's second-floor conference room, will feature an overview of the upcoming year's budget pressures, which staff have prepared to fit council's 2.5 per cent tax levy increase cap.
Among the most significant cost drivers staff have identified include a requirement to better fund the city's snow control operations.
Over the past five years, more money has been spent than is available in the snow control budget, with the extra coming out of the general operating surplus, said a report from corporate services director Kathleen Soltis.
Based on a five-year average, the annual snow control levy should be at least $5.75 million - it was $5.04 million in 2013. "Futhermore, due to the volatility of the prince George snowfall, the levy should be high enough to create a reserve" equal to one-quarter of the annual expenses, Soltis added.
To reach that goal, staff are recommending the city bump up the total levy to $6 million next year.
An apparent change in the rules regarding the use of Gas Tax funds is also going to help the city's roads. The target of $7 million for road rehabilitation can be reached next year with the help of this previously unavailable funds, according to Soltis's report, which is an increase of more than $2 million.