By Trevor Busch
Rolling out more than $28 million in various projects for the community over the next two years, town council has finalized the 2019-2020 capital budgets.
Throughout deliberations in late 2018 much of town council’s focus has been in formulating changes to the 2020 capital budget, which now totals $8,576,900. The 2021-2023 capital budgets are being left unapproved by town council in anticipation of changes in future years.
Projects for Engineering and Public Works include surface works – main ($425,000), 56th Avenue road extension ($2,624,000), Taber Arena – Community Centre – Administration Building parking lots ($350,000), asphalt milling and overlay program ($250,000), Administration Building bathroom renovation ($200,000), 53rd Avenue parking stalls ($110,000), 56th Avenue sidewalk ($76,000), wastewater forcemain flushing vault ($250,000), 62nd Avenue cast iron replacement from 50th Street to 54th Street ($1,150,000), Water Meter Replacement Program ($50,000), commercial garbage truck ($350,000), commercial/industrial multi-family bins ($50,000), 1/2 ton truck ($30,000), service truck ($60,000), tool-cat trade-in ($85,000), hydraulic compactor attachment for excavator ($45,000), and a zero-turn mower ($17,000).
During council’s final meeting of 2018 on Dec. 17, Mayor Andrew Prokop requested clarification of the urgency surrounding pipe-related infrastructure replacements, such as the 62nd Avenue cast iron replacement project.
“That’s cast iron that’s in the ground that’s beyond its life cycle,” said public works director Gary Scherer. “We’re going to really need to start replacing those water lines. For cast iron, usually (it’s) about 50 years (life cycle), and that’s about 65 – 70 years. Especially this line, we’ve had problems with it, we’ve excavated, we’ve had numerous repairs. When we looked at the repair, that cast iron is so badly pitted we’re not sure it’s going to last. There is that need for repair.”
Coun. Joe Strojwas emphasized the need to continue to focus the town’s financial resources on infrastructure replacements.
“We’ve been quite proactive about doing our infrastructure upgrades. We’ve looked at this over the last five years, that the maintenance was worth more than the pipe that was in the ground. It’s in the town’s best interests to replace that whole piece there.”
Coun. Garth Bekkering would reiterate this point, highlighting the long-term approach that successive councils have applied.
“We’ve got to replace those darn things — they’re 70 years old, for sure. I just want to emphasize that the councils of the last 15 years have made a conscious effort to fix all these cast iron and clay pipes. It’s a tremendous cost — it’s not just the last five years, it’s the last 15 years that we’ve been making really good attempts to repair our infrastructure.”
For Recreation, projects include the Taber Community Centre roof repair ($405,000), Trout Pond Phase 3 ($300,000), mower replacement unit 5-12 ($18,000), rototiller replacement unit 6-03 ($20,000), bleacher replacement ($16,000), Kubota ATV 4×4 replacement unit 5-11 ($27,000), and the Small Ice Arena upgrade ($1,600,000).
Prokop inquired as to the timeline involved with the Small Ice Arena upgrade, a project his worship was reluctant to offer support for during capital budget deliberations on Dec. 3.
“The concept was that we were going to do the Recreation Master Plan, and then go to that Recreation Master Plan to either move forward with this Small Ice Arena upgrade or amend this budget after that Recreation Master Plan is done, and remove that allocation, or change it to a large ice, or whatever council had wanted,” said CAO Cory Armfelt. “But the vision was to do the master plan in 2019, and then move forward with any expenditures after the master plan.”
Based on this feedback, Prokop argued the project should be removed from the 2020 capital budget.
“We don’t know what this Recreation Master Plan is going to say, so to commit to 2020 for that type of project to me is too premature without having all the details involved there.”
At least two councillors took issue with the mayor’s assessment of the project.
“I’m of the opinion that just because it’s in the 2020 proposed capital projects, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen necessarily,” said Bekkering. “I think if the Recreation Master Plan recommends not to, or council discusses it and changes their mind, we can do so, I believe. I don’t see the need to take it out.”
“I think we need to leave it in because the Small Ice surface has already been deemed quite problematic, and if we don’t leave some money in there to upgrade it we’re going to be behind the 8-ball in 2020,” said Strojwas. “It’s best that it’s left in there and we deal with the RFD when it comes in and just see what happens, and what the Recreation Master Plan has to say. We’ve got enough feedback from the community that they don’t think we need another large ice surface, the Small Ice surface is just great, we just need to put some maintenance dollars back into it.”
Information Technology will be utilizing server upgrades ($60,000), annual hardware replacement ($94,900), and GIS in-house ($20,000). Taber Police Service will see a new Intoxilyzer ($15,000) and the annual police car replacement ($55,000). The Taber Fire Department will be receiving a thermal imaging camera ($10,000).
The amended 2019 capital budget now totals $19,553,617, exceeding by more than $10 million what was originally approved ($9,545,235) in late 2017.
Projects for Engineering and Public Works include a tractor replacement ($140,000), street sweeper ($210,000), tandem dump truck ($153,000), Administration Building electrical panel upgrades ($15,000), 56th Avenue road extension – engineering ($200,000), BNR Plant Primary and Secondary Clarifier Re-Build ($225,000), High Lift Pumps to VFD-Rated Motors Upgrade ($200,000), CO2 Installation at Water Treatment Plant ($450,000), 52nd Street sanitary and water line replacement ($982,000), generator upgrade at Water Treatment Plant ($400,000), East Industrial Storm ($7,400,000), 56th Street stormwater improvements ($3,310,000), North Pump Station upgrades ($400,000), Water Metre Replacement Program ($50,000), 1/2 ton crew cab ($37,000), 3/4 ton crew cab (x2) ($100,000), stick pivot thumb attachment for excavator ($11,000), paint shaker ($7,500), and collection carts – garbage, recycling, organics ($25,000).
For Recreation, projects include purchasing a sod-cutter unit 7-26 ($6,500), completing a fourth ball diamond at KMMSC ($250,000), the Kiwanis Playground ($50,000), truck replacement unit 1-19 ($35,235), a cemetery mower replacement unit 5-14 ($15,000), and the Auditorium Facility Modernization and Mechanical System ($575,000) project which is already underway in early 2019.
Information Technology will be utilizing a Diamond Software version upgrade ($10,000), making disaster recovery improvements ($25,000), wireless service upgrade ($30,000), and the annual hardware replacement ($168,000).
Taber Police Service will see an annual police car replacement ($55,000), virtualization project ($30,000), and an alarm detector replacement ($7,500). The Taber Fire Department will be receiving a command unit ($45,000), and is slated for a potential fire hall replacement (land and construction, $3,500,000). Subdivision and Land Development has been allocated $120,000 for land purchase costs related to the 56th Avenue extension.
The unapproved 2021 capital budget totals $8,537,200. Projects for Engineering and Public Works include the 50th Street sanitary replacement from 60th Avenue to 64th Avenue ($2,960,000), Water Meter Replacement Program ($50,000), grader trade-in ($350,000), tandem dump truck ($170,000), landfill loader ($261,800), tri-deck mower ($30,000), 3/4 ton truck ($38,000), wood chipper ($65,000), collection carts ($25,000), and the Eureka Industrial Subdivision Phase 3B Option 2 – engineering and construction ($3,600,000).
For Recreation, projects include a mower replacement unit 5-19 ($20,000) and Trout Pond Phase 4 ($300,000). Information Technology will be utilizing a Diamond upgrade ($10,000), Jeep trade-in ($50,000), cloud adoption ($100,000), customer relationship management system ($75,000), and hardware evergreening ($167,400).
The Taber Police Service will see a generator upgrade ($75,000) and the annual car replacement ($55,000). The Taber Fire Department is expected to receive a new command unit 6-1 ($50,000). In the cemetery, Row “K” development will get underway ($85,000).
The unapproved 2022 capital budget totals $10,487,700. Projects for Engineering and Public Works include the west water supply and distribution ($5,400,000), surface works – main ($425,000), 64th Avenue asphalt overlay – Highway 36 to 50th Street ($1,016,000), 64th Avenue asphalt overlay – Highway 864 to 50th Street ($906,000), 52nd Avenue – 49th Street – 52nd Street cast iron replacement ($840,000), 50th Avenue and 56th Street bulb-out ($34,000), 53rd Avenue parking stalls ($110,000), 56th Avenue sidewalk ($76,000), 48th Street parking – Confederation Park ($170,000), Water Meter Replacement Program ($50,000), residential automated side-load garbage truck ($300,000), commercial/industrial multi-family bins ($50,000), 1/2 ton truck ext. cab ($38,000), service truck ($60,000), snow blower loader attachment ($130,000), multi-use system tandem truck ($180,000), Road Boss Grader – tractor attachment ($10,000), Sno-Push blade loader attachment ($12,000), and a zero-turn mower ($18,000).
For Recreation, projects include the Trout Pond Phase 5 ($250,000), trailer replacement unit 4-06 ($4,000), mower replacement unit 5-02 ($33,000), mower replacement unit 5-21 ($18,000), tractor replacement unit 6-02 ($70,000), and truck replacement unit 1-08 ($38,000).
Information Technology will be utilizing a fleet management system ($75,000), business intelligence and analytics system ($25,000), hardware evergreening ($173,700), and a learning management system ($10,000).
The Taber Police Service will see new Tasers ($8,000), an annual car replacement ($55,000) and pistol replacements ($25,000). The Taber Fire Department is expected to receive SCBA equipment ($250,000) and possible replacement of carpeting and painting at the fire hall ($18,000).
The unapproved 2023 capital budget totals $11,316,200. Projects for Engineering and Public Works include the Southeast Stormwater Management Facility ($7,530,000), 56th Avenue cast iron water main replacement – 52nd Street to 53rd Street ($415,000), 56th Street sanitary replacement – 62nd Avenue to 64th Avenue ($510,000), 56th Street sanitary replacement – 54th Avenue to 48th Avenue ($2,000,000), Water Meter Replacement Program ($50,000), rubber tire excavator ($280,000), 3/4 ton truck ($39,000), service truck ($60,000), flat deck trailer ($14,000), extended arm mower – excavator attachment ($25,000), sewer/camera system remote controls ($75,000), and collection carts ($25,000).
Recreation is seeking a line painter replacement unit 7-02 ($8,100), while Information Technology will see a Diamond upgrade ($10,000), human resources information system ($75,000), and hardware evergreening ($135,100). Taber Police Service will see its annual car replacement ($55,000), while the Taber Fire Department is seeking a thermal imaging camera ($10,000).
Following discussion, council voted unanimously to approve the 2019-2020 capital budgets. Coun. Joe Strojwas was absent, but participated in the proceedings via teleconference call.