It's nowhere near the kind of money Calgary council is dealing with but High River has some money left over from last year to put into reserves.

Mayor Craig Snodgrass says the Town shouldn't be sitting on massive surpluses with tax hikes in the mix as well.

"We kept our tax increase to zero this year so we're dealing with a surplus from staff positions that weren't filled last year due to COVID, whether they will be filled again is still up in the air, but taking those surpluses and putting them into reserves so that we can keep those reserve accounts there so that we have the money when we need the money," said mayor Snodgrass.

CAO Chris Prosser says higher revenue from safety code inspections and building permit revenue are also included in the surplus.

Mayor Snodgrass says they were looking to get away from the Summer Temporary Employment Program or STEP and come up with a better system to deal with employee wages but they're having the same trouble as other businesses getting good staff.

"We did bring that STEP program back into play because the last thing we wanted to do is start to lose our good employees to other municipalities so we've got to keep up with what's going on and it's just the nature of where this market is for municipal employees and we need to be a player in that," he says.

"It's extremely hard for us to find staff to fill some of the vacancies that we've got, we are absolutely no different than any other industry that's struggling with staffing issues right now."

Council allocated the transfer of $309,000 as part of the net surplus for 2021 to the Tax Stabilization Reserve to reduce the impact of the funding diversion from utilities, transferred $200,000 to the Water Utility Reserve AND transferred $75,000 to the Wastewater Utility Reserve.

Council is also putting aside $223,000 as part of the 2022 portion of the RCMP retroactive payment.

"It covers off a portion of the money that we are going to have to come up with, hopefully, the federal government steps up and helps municipalities out with these increases," he says. "It's a tough pill to swallow but the interesting thing is that we have been very aware that these increases have been coming down the line for years and years and years now and our administration and finance team have been very good at making sure we put a little bit of money aside knowing these increases were coming so we're in a very solid position to be able to handle those increases without going back to the taxpayer."