Despite having to stick to a 2.5 per cent tax increase cap, the 2014 budget will look to address some funding shortfalls.
The snow control budget alone is projected to take up 1.15 per cent of the overall increase, explained financial planning manager Kris Dalio, to address a "structural deficit."
Over the past five years, the plowing expenses have exceeded their annual budget, with the shortfall coming from the general operating surplus.
The snow reserve has also been empty for years. A recommended increase of more than $958,000 over the 2013 budget would bring the 2014 levy to $6 million, addressing both the shortfall as well as collecting money to create a reserve for bad snow years, said Dalio.
In high-level guidelines presented to mayor and councillors sitting as committee of the whole Monday night, the 2014 budget will also see the beginning of extra investment in the cost of public transit.
"This is just the start of this," said operations superintendent Bill Gaal, noting the cost of service delivery will continue to increase based on the three-year budgets the city has received from BC Transit.
Over the past seven years, the city has been able to easily absorb the cost increases passed down from the province due to a boost in ridership, said Gaal.
"But our growth has stopped, in a nutshell, a year ago and now we're facing these shortfalls," he said.
An extra $500,000 is allocated to cover the transit cost increases for 2014, with $482,000 and $221,000 projected for 2015 and 2016, respectively.
When the full draft budget comes before council beginning Nov. 27, Coun. Murry Krause said he would be interested in seeing where staff in the various departments have found the efficiencies to reach the 2.5 per cent target.