Council and senior administration dived into the proposed capital budget on Tues. Feb. 26 where they reviewed each item line by line, citing good understanding of the source material.
This year’s 2019 Capital Budget amounts to $4,074,150 in total with over half of the income coming from grants like the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI), Federal Gas Tax (FGT) and Basic Municipal Transportation Grant (BMTG).
With this, the town will access MSI, FGT and BMTG grant funding for utility projects and use freed-up utility surpluses to fund projects and savings for non-utility purposes.
This will turn the savings into real dollars in their bank account as opposed to having unspent MSI grant funds that are not in the town’s possession.
Four more years of capital budgets are also approved as part of the process but will be completely reviewed again as they get closer to the current year.
Major projects like pavement patching and sidewalk improvements along with the 2019 roadway reconstruction, water, sanitary and storm service replacement at a cost $1.72 million were highlighted.
“There is support for all kinds of areas and services in our community from water, sewer, roads, drainage, planning studies, recreation and culture components so it’s a gamut of a full spectrum of expenditures,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Greg Switenky.
The budget also reveals the large carry-over amounts from continuous or new projects coming up.
There are internal funds being used as well as grants.
The town, like many other municipalities across the province, are waiting for the results of the provincial election as it will determine whether there will be modifications to the budget or even postponing projects as grants may be slashed or added to.
“I’ve been pleased by some of the feedback received by senior staff,” said CAO Switenky. “Historically, we have had limited sort of participation by all of our department senior staff at the capital budget.
“I think they greatly added value to the question and answer session. I had at least two or three of them come forward and basically say how much they enjoyed the process and relationship with members of Council.”
Mayor Sean Nolls added, “I think what it really shows, Greg, is the inclusivity of this organization and that’s why we are who we are and what we can accomplish.”
Along with the approval of the 2019 Capital Budget, council also discussed their Strategic Plan for the town of approximately 6,000 people.
Five main goals have been identified; the first being corporate and identifying branding.
The other goals highlighted were downtown improvements like parking solutions for the north and south end of Main street, the multi-use facility, highway access and West Stettler Park improvements.
Although these goals are on the radar, more discussion will be taking place.
Stampede gains $10,000 in entertainment funding President Earl Radford of the Steel Wheel Stampede, as well as Vice President Sean Nolls, presented their case for further funding of the event at the regular meeting held on Mar. 11.
The pair, on behalf of the stampede committee, requested $10,000 in funding to get a ‘foot in the door for us’ as entertainment pieces are costly.
Council agreed to give the Steel Wheel Stampede $10,000 in funding from the Community Development account of the 2019 budget.
A bullfighting night is expected to take place on Thursday night for approximately $4,500 again but the committee feels extra family-friendly events are warranted as it attracts more people through the gates.
This will also help them get the event to a more sustainable state.
This is the third year the Town has supported the event.
Coun. Wayne Smith asked about their financial state once last year’s event numbers rolled in.
Radford explained there was roughly $3,000 in accounts to put towards this year and that the relationship between the Steel Wheel Stampede and Stettler Agricultural Society is becoming stronger each day.
The only fee they have to pay for the ground usage is a damage deposit, keeping costs low in that regard.
As for live entertainment, the stage will be moved to a different location again as they figure out which space works best.
The parade route is also being reexamined as the route last year was found to be quite long.
Legacy Track close to reaching lofty goal
On Mar. 8, Clearview Public Schools announced the resurfacing of the 1991 Summer Games Legacy Track located at the William E. Hay High School.
The three stakeholders including the Town of Stettler came together to pool the funds needed for this project.