By Trevor Busch
Prompted by the province’s campaign of fiscal restraint, huge cuts to the Town of Taber’s 2021 capital budget will total $4.2 million and targets big ticket items like the Small Ice Arena Upgrade and $1.1 million in paving projects.
Administration has removed projects that were identified to be taken out by council at their Nov. 12 meeting. Council removed projects in the amount of $4.2 million, leaving a balance of $9.6 million with $5.4 million funded from reserves.
“We had an in camera discussion at the last meeting with regards to the reality of the provincial cuts that we would have to make to the 10-year capital plan for 2020,” said CAO Cory Armfelt at council’s Nov. 25 meeting.
According to administration, council had directed cuts to the 2021 capital budget however there were no official resolutions to this effect following the closed session portion of the Nov. 12 meeting, where the town’s operating and capital budgets were discussed behind closed doors.
Approved projects in the 2021 amended capital budget for Engineering and Public Works include the 50th Street Sanitary Replacement 60th to 64th Avenue ($2,690,000), 50th Street Cast Iron Replacement 57th to 58th Avenue ($350,000), Transportation Master Plan ($150,000), 45th Avenue Cast Iron Water Main Replacement 53rd to 55th Street ($1,663,000), Grader – Trade in Existing ($350,000), Tandem Dump Truck ($170,000), Landfill Loader ($261,800), Shulti Tri-Deck Mower ($30,000), 3/4 Ton Truck Extended Cab ($38,000), Wood Chipper ($65,000), Collection Carts – Garbage, Recycling and Organics ($25,000), and a SCBA Replacement ($35,000).
Cuts or postponements in this area include the Arena – Community Centre – Aquafun Parking Lots ($500,000), Community Centre – Curling Rink Parking Lot ($625,000), Legion Park Parking Lot ($90,000), Administration Building Parking Lot ($110,000), Skid Steer with Grader Attachment – Replacing Tool Cat ($89,500), Administration Building Bathroom Renovation ($200,000), Commercial/Industrial Multi-Family Bins ($50,000), and a Service Truck ($60,000).
In Planning, council has signed off on Refurbishing Old Fire Hall Entrance ($50,000), Affordable and Alternative Housing Project Phase 1 ($3,994,000), and Future Northwest Servicing ($1,343,160). For Recreation, the town is purchasing a Tool Cat ($90,000), Trout Pond Phase 4 ($300,000), Ice Edger ($6,000), Ride on Floor Scrubber ($24,000), Spray Park – Tot Table ($35,000), Playground Enhancements ($150,000), and Concession Upgrades ($80,000).
Cuts or postponements in this area include the Trout Pond Phase 3 – Moved from 2019 ($150,000), Small Ice Arena Upgrade ($1,600,000), Community Centre Roof Repair ($405,000), Rototiller Replacement Unit 6-03 ($20,000), and a Kubota ATV 4X4 Replacement Unit 5-11 ($27,000).
For Information Technology, there will be a Diamond Upgrade ($10,000), Jeep Trade-In ($50,000), Cloud Adoption ($100,000), HR Information System ($75,000), and an Annual Hardware Replacement ($222,800). Cuts or postponements in this area include GPS Tracking ($50,000) and Server Upgrades ($60,000).
For Police, there will be a Generator Upgrade ($75,000), Annual Car Replacement ($55,000), Digital Evidence Management ($60,000) and Access Control ($72,345). Cuts or postponements in this area include a Bull Pen Upgrade ($50,000), Bull Pen Upgrade – Carpet ($30,000), and a Vehicle Replacement – CSO/Bylaw ($55,000). For Fire, the department is seeking a Command Unit 6-1 ($50,000), while in Cemetery, there will be Row “K” Development ($85,000).
The 2020 capital budget rings in at $9,624,400, with $5,450,400 taken from reserves.
Projects in the 2020 amended capital budget for Engineering and Public Works include Surface Works – Main ($425,000), 56th Avenue Road Extension ($2,624,000), Asphalt Milling and Overlay Program ($250,000), Wastewater Force Main Flushing Vault ($250,000), 62nd Avenue Cast Iron Replacement 50th to 54th Street ($1,150,000), Commercial Garbage Truck ($350,000); Site Equipment Trailer ($30,000), Hydraulic Compacter Attachment for Excavator ($45,000); Zero Turn Mower ($17,000), Portable Speed Sign ($5,500), LED Flashing Cross Walk Lights 50th Avenue to 53rd Street ($11,000), and a South Trail on 39th Avenue ($9,500).
In Planning, projects include the Eureka Industrial Subdivision Phase 3B Option 2 – Engineering and Construction ($3,295,000), Eureka Subdivision 62nd Street Extension ($323,000), and the Eureka Industrial Subdivision 56th Street Water Main Looping ($394,000). In Recreation, there will be Trout Pond Phase 3 ($150,000), Mower Replacement Unit 5-12 ($18,000), and a Bleacher Replacement ($16,000). Information Technology is utilizing $94,900 for its Annual Hardware Replacement.
For Police, there will be an Intoxilyzer ($15,000), Annual Car Replacement ($55,000), GIS Vehicle Lease ($7,000); End Point Projections ($12,000), E-ticketing ($17,500), and an Animal Shelter Increase ($50,000). Fire is seeking a Thermo Image Camera ($10,000).
Capital budgets are expected to total $11,155,100 in 2022, $11,532,400 in 2023, and $12,118,900 in 2024.
Following discussion, council voted unanimously to endorse the five-year capital plan as presented, with strategic amendments to continue from year to year; and approved the amended 2020 capital budget.