Five-year capital plan approved

Written by Terri Huxley

Alberta Municipal Affairs requires all Alberta Municipalities to complete and submit annual three-year operating budgets and five-year capital budgets.

The draft Village of Forestburg Five-Year Capital Budget was approved as presented at the regular meeting of council on Thurs. June 3.

Significant changes from last years’ budget are the revised costing and awarding of the 46 Avenue W Road Reconstruction Project; the 2021 Capital Budget additions that were approved by council in this years’ budget process; revised projected Capital Plan expenditure totals; and the reference to the planned update to the 2019 Infrastructure Report given significant changes in projected costings of upcoming capital projects.

The revised plan also refers to recent budgetary changes made by the provincial government and that these reduced levels of capital grant support are projected to significantly impact and limit the amount of capital rehabilitation and replacement that the village is expecting to be able to accomplish over the horizon of this five-year budget submission period.

The approval of the draft capital plan has no additional financial implications in the current fiscal year as all projects in 2021 have been budgeted and approved by council.

The cost implications of the remaining four years of the capital plan will be subject to the deliberations and approvals made in upcoming years.

Throughout the past, Forestburg has had councils who fully understood the need to ensure that their infrastructure is kept as current as possible and as a result underground infrastructure is in relatively good condition; however, roads are said to require significant investment in the future.

This plan includes $1,428,500 of capital projects for the next five years.

These projects are all road replacement projects on the east side of the municipality as well as some minor sewer main issues that need to be dealt with when the road is done

There are limited resources to fund capital projects and although a 2019 Infrastructure Assessment has been completed by Select Engineering Ltd., which indicates that additional sewer projects in the amount of $430,000 and water projects of $520,000 have been noted as being priority projects over the next five years, there is not sufficient funding to undertake all of these projects.

The overall infrastructure backlog as of 2020 is approximately $4 million dollars.

This backlog does not include any new initiatives such as sidewalk repairs and maintenance, improvements to gravel roads within the municipality or improvements to buildings or recreational facilities.

For the 2020 construction year, council elected to rebuild 57 Street W, as well as completing the residential subdivision, replacing the sidewalk on 46 Avenue between 50 Street and Highway 856, as well as the replacement of the computer server and workstations in the administration office, replacement of the swimming pool liner and constructing an addition on the Community Hall.

The 2019 Infrastructure Plan will be updated in 2021 to include capacity of existing infrastructure and improvements necessary to accommodate secured and planned industrial, commercial and residential development.

Reserve balances at the end of 2020 were $1,442,848.

Of these funds, $242,732.68 are to be used on projects in 2021 including the completion of swimming pool structural repairs and replacement of the swimming pool liner, the complete reconstruction of 46 Ave. West, the purchase of a replacement generator for the main sewer lift station and a back-up generator for the Community Hall/Village Reception Center for emergency planning.

At the conclusion of 2021 this capital program results in $1,200,115.32 remaining in municipal reserves.

The budget transfers into reserves in 2021 are budgeted at $81,970 resulting in $1,282,085 available for in-year needs or future spending and projects.

Closed session

After time spent in a closed discussion amongst council it was agreed to establish a formal understanding with the village of Donalda to ensure fire protection services are in place for that area should Donalda find itself in need of these services at the conclusion of its current arrangement with the County of Stettler.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.