By Jensen, Randy on April 7, 2020.
City council voted in favour of increasing the City’s existing credit line from its current level of $10 million to $60 million to help create a financial buffer against the COVID-19 crisis.
The motion was previously debated and passed first and second readings at the March 23 council meeting.
However, Coun. Blaine Hyggen held back unanimous consent by voting against allowing council to proceed to third reading then; thus forcing a follow-up vote in two weeks.
With debate already concluded at the previous meeting, Mayor Chris Spearman simply had to call the vote on Monday.
The motion passed by a vote of 7-2 with Councillors Joe Mauro and Blaine Hyggen voting against.
Both Mauro and Hyggen had argued with a State of Local Emergency declared there was no need to increase the credit line by six times the amount at which it existed prior to the vote. City staff, they argued, already had the power to exceed the $10 million on an as-needed basis for any contingencies which may come up due to COVID-19 in the next six months.
City treasurer Hailey Pinksen explained to Mauro and Hyggen at the March 23 meeting that $7.5 million of the existing $10 million credit line was already earmarked for the Alberta Electric System Operator as a sum which must be held in reserve against any potential challenges at the City’s electrical utility, leaving only $2.5 million available for the City’s COVID-19 response; thus the staff’s request for extension of the credit line to $60 million, she had explained.
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