City bean counters are just $266,000 away from reaching the three per cent tax levy increase councillors set out as a ceiling when budget talks began this year.
City finance manager Maureen Adams outlined a report Friday morning that says a slew of savings have been found in several city departments totalling $246,000.
If the budget were to be set right now - which is very unlikely to happen - residential taxpayers in the city would see their bills go up by about $53 on an average bill.
"We're trying to come up with others ideas" to reduce costs, said Adams Friday during a city budget committee meeting. "Through more discussions we're going to come up with more suggestions on how to do that."
If savings can be found to limit the tax levy increase to just three per cent, the average tax bill for a residential ratepayer would go up by about $42.
Adams said the budget is being cut to the bone, and suggested if more spending cuts are completed, some capital projects will ikely have to be deferred until next year and reserve funds will have to be employed.
There was limited discussion Friday about how human resources can be shifted around the city in an attempt to reign in costs, which was cut short by budget committee chair Denis Carr.
"We're getting down to the short strokes now," he said of the budget. "The last thing we want to do is alarm employees."
But Coun. Bernadette Clement disagreed, and suggested open council is the place to discuss spending patterns when it comes to staffing, while discussions surrounding specific positions should move in-camera.