After two days of deliberations, City Council approved a $177.4 million Capital Budget for 2020. The Capital Budget includes projects that will take place in 2020 as well as projects that require additional funding from previous years.
“We acknowledge that we’re in an era of economic austerity and our decisions surrounding our capital investment reflect that,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Administration put forward a budget and plan that focuses on maintenance programs, current facility enhancements and mandatory upgrades to infrastructure to ensure our assets can continue to serve our citizens long term.”
This year’s budget process was adjusted to group the minor projects together for approval with the top 20 major capital projects being approved individually. Projects in this list ranged in cost from $20,000 to $3 million with a total of $46.056 million. All items in this list were approved by Council.
The 20 major capital projects totalled $132 million. This includes $5.09 million for site servicing for the G.H. Dawe Enhancements, $28.845 million for Northland Drive development from Taylor Drive to 49 Avenue, $24.977 million for Riverside Meadows / Fairview Communities Infrastructure Revitalization, $6.721 million for the annual Water Utility Infrastructure program, $3.873 million for the annual Wastewater Main Infrastructure program and $2.267 million for the annual Wastewater Treatment Plant Rehabilitation, Replacement and Upgrades program.
“The projects approved in the capital budget ensures the continuation of quality, effective services balanced with consideration of our economic state and financial sustainability,” said City Manager, Allan Seabrooke. “Moving forward we will continue to find ways to minimize spending while still maintaining the infrastructure we have invested in that our community depends on.”
The $1.17 billion 2021-2029 Capital Plan was approved by Council in principle. By doing this, it gives administration the flexibility to adjust the priorities outlined in the plan based on community needs, project funding and economic state.
“We realize there will be some disappointment in our community arising out of the capital budget and plan debate, but our reality right now is that we are not currently in a financial position to approve new, large scale projects such as the aquatic centre or the north highway connector in the 10 year plan and it would be unfair to artificially elevate our citizens’ expectations,” said Veer. “It is ethically imperative to do what is financially responsible for our community given our economic reality, and I believe that this budget accomplishes that.”
Although the Aquatics Centre is not included in the capital plan, Council has directed administration to determine scope, a potential location, financing plans and grant opportunities as well as ensure access to Michener pool throughout the process.
With the approval of the capital budget, The City’s estimated debt limit for 2020 sits at 63 per cent, which is below the 75 per cent debt limit set by Council. The Capital budget is funded through multiple sources, grants and reserves provide 67 per cent, debt provides 25 per cent and the remaining eight per cent is customer contributions.
For further details on the 2020 Capital Budget and 2021-2029 Capital Plan, visit www.reddeer.ca/budget.
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For more information, please contact:
Mayor Tara Veer
The City of Red Deer
Communications & Strategic Planning
The City of Red Deer