A month ago a rumour began to circulate that their would be huge user fee increases for rent of recreational facilities, especially hockey rinks. Councillor Joe Mihevc was sent out to reassure the public. He promised that hockey rinks in particular would be subjected at most to a cost increase directly related to inflation.
Last week it was uncovered that the budget included a 21.5% fee increase across the board for recreational activities including hockey arenas. This fee was on top of the built in 3% increase due to inflation. Mayor Miller claimed he did not know about the hike and promised to come to the rescue. The city has settled for a 5% increase on top of the 3% inflationary rate hike. It is unclear how many more user fee hikes have been buried deep into the budget.
This move left the city with a challenge of finding the $2 million they would have made from the fee hike. They have suspended the program of raising user fees to help subsidize those that are less fortunate. They have also reduced the projected number of welfare recipients per month from 79,000 to 77,000. Even with fears of a recession looming they have managed to reduce the poverty rate by 2.6% by simply declaring it so. If only the rest of the cities problems could be solved so easily.