BY NATE SMELLE
Last week Council had its first look at the proposed capital budget for 2017. Presenting the budget at their committee of the whole meeting on Monday, Dec. 12, Treasurer Cari Pupo took time to explain how each expenditure fit within the Town’s long-term strategic plan. Pupo explained to Council that wealth creation was driving capital budget requests for 2017.
She said they also included input from the community received at the public budget open house earlier this year.
“The 20-year forecast that we continue to operate on focuses on longer term development and sustainability,” Pupo said.
“We also ensure that using this process we stayed focused on our strategic plan, we provide adequate funding for financial needs, we ensure transparency with Council and the community and we adjust the budget as required.”
Registering at nearly $11-million, the proposed capital budget for 2017 encourages Council to spend $4,181,818 from the Town’s reserves. Under the new budget, reserves would cover the total cost of financing: $191,000 of necessary upgrades to the municipality’s information technology, $43,000 to replace bunker gear and pagers for fire protection services, $437,400 to finance vehicles and equipment in need of replacement, $12,000 for cemeteries and $184,500 for park facilities. Council is still considering whether to invest in a new snowplow and spreading unit for $275,000, and $15,400 in GPS tracking devices for the Town’s snowplows.
Pointing out that over the next few years the municipality is projecting expenditures on new snowplowing vehicles amounting to $825,000, Councillor Gary Accursi said he needed more answers regarding the cost of contracting out these services versus purchasing new vehicles before he could support expanding the Town’s fleet.
“I think we really need to have a good hard look at this whole contracting-out issue before we agree to spend the significant capital that we are looking at over the next few years,” he said.
The Director of Public Works will provide Council with a comparative report on the costs and benefits of purchasing new vehicles and equipment as opposed to contracting the services out to the private sector.
With nearly half of the overall budget financed by reserves, the rest of the funds would be made up of government grants, development charges and debentures. The overall budget for Town facilities is set at $518,100 with $430,100 coming from reserves. Notably repairs to the mechanical system and deck at the Marlene Stewart Streit Park pool totaling $162,500 were red- circled by Council to be reconsidered before their approval. They are also discussing the necessity of spending $227,000 for staff accommodations and relocation at the Town’s Tice Road operations centre.
The proposed budget earmarked $7.46 million to be spent on maintaining public roads. This portion of the budget would use $1,654,274 from reserves, $1,836,680 from development charges and $3,976,747 from other sources. Other sources include: a developer contribution debenture of $ 2,088,774 for the Summersides development from Station Street to Wellsprings Road, a grant debenture of $1,594,173 for the design and construction of the water main replacement on Station Street from Pelham Town Square to Port Robinson Rd, and $293,800 from a developer contribution for the East Fonthill Block Two secondary servicing. The $2,454,573 slated for the water main rebuild on Station Street was another of the items red-circled by Council for further consideration.
Of all the items comprising the proposed $470,000 wastewater budget, only the $85,000 cost for the design and construction of the Hurricane Road sewer in need of lateral replacement was red-circled.
The Town’s budget for water totaled $1,234,885. Council red-circled the $742,500 replacement of the Hurricane water main from Chestnut Road to Hwy 20.
Planning and development would receive $182,900 by means of the proposed budget. Most of these funds would go towards financing the $130,000 needed for a future housing development proposed for Canboro Road in the east Fenwick secondary plan.
The cost of cleaning the Keenan drain will use up the $15,000 in the municipal drainage budget for 2017.
The $215,000 needed to complete repairs to the basement of the Fonthill Library Branch was also red-circled by Council.
The Library budget also includes $10,000 for Computer Services Development, bringing the total up to $225,000.