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$9M could be added to regional budget with escalating fuel costs

Fuel keeps services like waste disposal, police, paramedic, and public transit running
050322 - gas pump - diesel
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We're all feeling the pain at the pumps.

For our region, it could mean up to $9 million will be added to the budget.

A report put in front of regional council Wednesday night, says fuel and inflation are putting "significant pressure" on the region's financial position this year.

"There are always expenditure and revenue variances over the course of the year. We're very accustomed to monitoring and reporting on these type of variances. The fuel one, admittedly, is a little bit larger and more significant than usual," said Craig Dyer, the region's chief financial officer.

He told councillors that no one expected fuel prices to jump as high as they have.

"We had put our budgets together as early as the summer of last year and were using inflation rates at the time. And, looking at fuel prices at the fall of last year," Dyer said.

Fuel keeps many regional services running---public transit buses, ambulances, police vehicles, and garbage trucks.

The region budgeted $1.06/L for diesel.

According to the report, diesel prices have averaged $1.56/L to date.

$1.08/L was budgeted for gas.

Gas prices have averaged $1.45 to date.

"It must have been a real temptation ... to say the sky is falling," Regional Chair Karen Redman said to Dyer.

"So thank you very much for not doing that."

Regional staff will return in June with an early estimate of the region's year-end financial position, an outline of the preliminary 2023 budget, and a list of potential mitigation measures.

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