By Stan Ashbee
Proposed Capital Projects for 2021/2022 were discussed during a Town of Taber council meeting held Jan. 18. According to the town’s Director of Finance John Orwa, the town’s Capital Projects for 2021 have already been approved, but four additions have been brought up for council’s consideration.
“We’re looking at council to look at four additional projects,” noted Taber Director of Engineering and Public Works Gary Scherer, with the projects tentatively slated for 2021 and 2022.
“It’s come to our attention we are finally available to apply for the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP) funding. We’ve never been able to apply for this. But because we’ve got annexed lands and it’s a regional facility, the landfill transfer station and the new park area — the trout pond — we now have access to that funding,” added Scherer.
Scherer said the first project is a bridge file. “The culvert in there is in bad shape. It needs replacing. We believe we are eligible for 75 per cent funding of that project under this program.”
Part of the project, Scherer continued, will be to put guard rails in and start strengthening up the road.
According to Scherer, the second project is the transfer station road for the west point of the bridge file to the transfer station. “That road would be rehabilitated. The main issue with that is the stormwater is killing that road. There’s hardly anything left of it. There’s no ditches on the side. The water comes in and goes into the road. We have no gravel on it. We figure we’re eligible for 50 per cent of that road.”
“It will be brought up to a higher standard due to the larger truck traffic throughout that road,” said Scherer.
A third project is the trout pond road, “that was never a road,” Scherer said. “It’s been just a bunch of gravel put on some prairie. It’s about .9 kilometres long. With this, we actually looked at, there’s going to be a lot of visitors coming up in the future. Making it an all-weather access road — it will be paved and it will be a good transportation road. We figure we can get 50 per cent funded off of that.”
All these projects are very necessary, said Scherer. “Very seldom do we ever get funding for any of our roads for maintenance.”
A fourth project is the 48 Street parking project. “We didn’t see that in the Capital Budget, so we thought we’d bring that forth for council’s consideration,” Scherer said.
For the bridge file, the municipal portion would be $142,500. The municipal portion for the Waste Transfer Station access road would be $520,100. The trout pond road, with construction in 2022, the municipal portion would be $712,600. For the Taber Park access road, the municipal portion would be $663,500 for 2022. The parking project would be only municipal funds at $170,000.
Orwa said for the Capital Projects for 2021, the amount approved was approximately $944,000. After that, an additional $100,000 was added for $1.04 million from reserves.
Orwa explained to council town departments contribute annually from tax base funds collected by the town. “We collect about $2.02 million. We’re still sitting at about $978,000.”
If those funds remain unused in 2021, the funds will move to the reserves to be used next year in 2022. The proposed projects are also grant-driven. “If we don’t get those grants from STIP, the projects will not go through. If they give us that money, we are pledging to cover the difference,” Orwa added.
A motion was made to direct administration to add the bridge file rehabilitation, transfer station road rehabilitation and the Taber Park access trout pond road, engineering only, to the 2021 Capital Budget and the Taber Park access trout pond road and the 48 Street parking projects to the 2022 Capital Budget. Council passed the motion.