Published – December 13, 2017
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
More than $2.8 million is expected to be approved next week in capital expenditures as a portion of the 2018 municipal budget moves forward.
Reviewing the capital investment portion of the budget, separate from operating expenses is unique to this budget cycle, said CAO Mark Vermette, noting it is necessary to meet project deadlines in the upcoming construction season.
“We found in years past when we are looking at the budget in March, April, in 2013 it might have been July, and what that does specifically with capital is that we are delayed in starting projects, with such a short construction season as it is,” noted Vermette.
“We would like to be prepared once January 1st hits.”
Vermette presented a budget that offered three categories of investment: necessary, for consideration and for deferral. The must have list, or Category A, totaled $11.79 million with grant funds expected to make up more than $9 million of the budget.
The budget included a Lassie Road project that offered a net expenditure, after grant funding, of $816,319 Highway 618 upgrades valued at $101,760 and a sidewalk, curb and storm drain project for the Goldshore Road, in front of the library, for $275,217. Additional budget items included improvements to the Centennial Park fountain, concrete sidewalks at the Government docks, continued grounds improvements at the cemetaries, plant repair at the Cochenour Arena, and the schedule conversion of the Landfill transfer site.
Discussing the proposed budget priorities Mayor Phil Vinet cautioned those gathered that adding to the long-term debt of the Municipality could backfire, as grant applications look at that figure closely.
“My concern is are we impacting our long-term debt,” noted Vinet clarifying that a small portion of the budgeted amount can be recovered through a user pay system.
“We are going to retire $2.2 million and you are projecting to add $2.5 million..,If we don’t have an acceptable amount of long-term debt we are going to disqualify ourselves from accessing money,” he added.
Reviewing projects put forward for consideration municipal leaders requested of staff to include a further $350,000 to the Category A budget items including $30,000 for Mckenzie Island play equipment, $18,000 for arena seating heating, $15,000 for Gustafson Street upgrades, $40,000 to pave and grade a portion of Waterfront Road and the purchase of a $32,000 street sweeper attachment.
The municipal portion of the Market Pavillion project for Centennial Park and creation of event centre tender ready engineered drawings totaling $250,000 was also added to Category A, provisional on more than $1 million in grants or funding is secured.
More than $1.7 million in Category B projects will remain on the consideration list including the rehabilitation of Mine Road. A further a million dollars of projects were left on the Category C, or deferred list including bigger ticket items like a new pumper tanker for Red Lake Fire Service ($400,000), pavement from Highway 125 to the Weight station at the Landfill site ($130,000), and LED lighting conversion for municipal buildings ($111,800).
A revised capital budget is expected to be presented to Councillors for final review and approval at their Regular Council Meeting on Dec. 18. Vermette confirmed the operations component of the budget is expected to be tabled in January.