Budget briefs – January 10

Red Deer Regional Airport will have to wait to see if the City of Red Deer will provide $750,000 for de-icing equipment. The city was presented with the funding request during budget talks on Friday.

Airport seeks $750,000 for de-icing equipment

Red Deer Regional Airport will have to wait to see if the City of Red Deer will provide $750,000 for de-icing equipment.

The city was presented with the funding request during budget talks on Friday.

The money will cover half the cost of the $1.5 million de-icing station.

That is a dramatic increase in the original $450,000 estimate council was given last year. Council approved one-third funding then with the Western Economic Diversification Fund and Red Deer County to split the rest.

Land and Economic Development manager Howard Thompson said a consultant greatly underestimated some of the design features that would be required for the de-icing facility and tenders came in higher than expected.

Adding the de-icing station is seen as a key improvement to allow the airport to operate year-round and attract more scheduled passenger service.

Construction is expected to cost up to $1.2 million with about $300,000 more required for training and other materials.

The county has agreed to pay half. The Diversification Fund cash is no longer available.

City manager Craig Curtis told council that administration was still reviewing the request and how it might be accommodated without using operating budget tax dollars. The funding request will be dealt with after the budget is finished.


Department wants to expand Action Bus service

Red Deer Transit is asking city council for $84,000 to expand the Action Bus service.

Action Bus provides specialized door-to-door transportation for seniors, those with disabilities or requiring other care, such as dialysis patients.

The popular service has seen a growing demand with the number of registered users up 31 per cent since 2008. The number of dialysis patients using the service has more than doubled in less than two years.

The funding would provide an additional vehicle and 450 additional monthly trips.

The city operates 14 Action Buses from Monday to Sunday. They make 250 trips per weekday and 112 trips on weekends.

The 2011 base budget for the service is $2.06 million.