Stettler town council approves $6.9 million capital budget

Written by Stu Salkeld

The Town of Stettler council approved the 2023 capital budget to the tune of $6.9 million which includes major construction projects in the municipality such as an airport upgrade, water line infrastructure and much more.

The proposed 2023 capital budget was presented to council by town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Greg Switenky.
“The 2023 proposed capital budget has been prepared for council’s consideration in the amount of $6,986,288,” stated Switenky’s memo.

The report stated that the Stettler Airport will see its runway upgraded for a price of $1,976,000, which includes grant money from other levels of government plus a partnership with the County of Stettler.

Another major project included in the 2023 capital budget is 48th Ave. reconstruction and paving, which includes utility replacement, priced at $2,310,000. The project sits immediately adjacent the new Wellings residential community.

Main Street will see more work in 2023, as the capital budget calls for $185,000 in asphalt overlay work between 48th and 49th Ave.

Water mains will see cast iron upgrades this summer on two sections of 50th Ave. with the project budgeted at $525,000.

Other work includes a $600,000 lift station upgrade, an $800,000 water reservoir upgrade, $150,000 worth of walking path development, $280,000 for pavement and sidewalk improvements and refurbishing the four “Welcome to Stettler” signs at a total price of $62,000.

The 2023 capital budget also included a number of pieces of equipment including a loader priced at $325,000 and a backhoe priced at $253,988. The budget also listed two pickup trucks for the fire chief and deputy fire chief each priced at $94,000 and $100,000 being set aside in a reserve fund for fire engine replacement in 2026.

The memo included a breakdown of funding sources for the $6.9 million, including $3.4 million in federal and provincial grants, $1.5 million from the interim 2023 budget, $1.4 million transferred from reserves, roughly half a million carried forward from last year plus almost half a million from partnerships and insurance.

Switenky offered a warning about future capital funding.

“Also, with the global, national and provincial endemic economic policies uncertain, and the ongoing replacement vagueness of the current Municipal Sustainability Program (MSI) with the Local Government Fiscal Framework (LGFF) in 2024, the town will continue to be challenged in its ability to address all the community’s needs on a timely basis,” stated his report.

Councillors unanimously approved the 2023 capital budget.

Glass half full

The CAO drew attention to his regular report which included an annual development permit summary from Director of Planning and Development Leann Graham which noted that total value of permits in 2022 was $5,473,634, compared to 2021’s total value of $7,189,548.

However, Switenky pointed out that if you remove the hospital renovations from the 2021 numbers, this past year was actually higher in value.

Emergency incidents

The CAO’s report also included a regional fire department incident summary from Mark Dennis.

Dennis noted December 2022 saw 29 total incidents which included seven motor vehicle collisions, five fire incidents, two carbon monoxide incidents and six medical assists.

Costs continue to rise

Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Chris Saunders noted in his report that inflation continues to affect his department.

“The chemical bids for 2023 came back and award letters were sent out,” stated Saunders’ report to council.

“The bids all came in higher than expected this year, much higher than the inflation rate that the government has been stating.”

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.