The past couple of weeks have been full ones for the new Council, as we have been deeply involved in the budget process for the coming year. My stated goal was to hold the line on taxes as much as possible, and I feel badly that the proposed increase is more than I had hoped. The budget is not finalized, but at this point we are looking at a 6.2% increase just to maintain service levels due to the high rate of inflation (which affects costs for the City just as it does for individuals). On top of that, I voted in favour of increasing our Fire/Rescue department in order to provide protection for our rapidly-growing community. The result at this point is an increase of about 7%. Certainly more than I wanted, but I believe it is justified. There will be further discussion in the New Year before anything is definite.