City council starts capital budget deliberations

Debate on $106.7-million capital budget continues Wednesday

City council shaved little off its $106.7 million-capital budget during the first day of debate on Tuesday.

So far council approved most of the proposed capital projects for 2017, with a few more left to debate on Wednesday starting at 9 a.m.

The closest councillors came to cutting back on spending was when they discussed reducing $7,291,000 in roadway reconstruction by $1 million. The motion failed 5-3.

Coun. Paul Harris said he was not opposed to addressing the backlog of road work, but in difficult economic times the increase to the reconstruction budget should be reduced.

“This year it’s at $7 million. Last year it was at $5 million. It’s still an increase to our budget,” Harris said on Tuesday.

Administration told council that 25 per cent of the city’s road reconstruction backlog remained and the backlog would increase if its budget was reduced.

Coun. Ken Johnston said he couldn’t support a smaller reconstruction budget.

“We need to make a continued investment in this kind of infrastructure. It’s not growth. It’s maintenance,” Johnston said.

“It’s not a nice to have. It’s a need to have.”

Mayor Tara Veer said citizens have continually identified roads and transportation as priorities in satisfaction surveys and over the years satisfaction has grown as the city focused on road work.

“Council has recognized that we had a substantial infrastructure deficit in roadways. That was in terms of existing pavement quality throughout the community, but also in terms of a substantial backlog a couple of years ago in potholes. There were some 14,500 potholes in the city,” Veer said.

“For the next year or two, we still have a bit of an infrastructure deficit that we need to close. Once we resolve all the shortfalls of the community, we likely could shift into more of a maintenance budget as opposed to addressing a backlog.”

She said this was her 13th capital budget and has recognized how carefully both council and administration deliberated capital costs in light of the current provincial economic climate.

Last year the 2017 capital budget was anticipated to be $133 million and administration reduced it by $26 million even before it came before council, she said.

“There’s an awareness of the economy that’s highly acute,” Veer said.

Council did cut capital costs by $219,000 at Collicutt Centre by delaying construction of a second water slide until 2018.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Winter Games flame arrives in Red Deer

Roly McLenahan torch has arrived

Two men facing charges after police chase in Innisfail

One of the suspects initially thought might have been involved in earlier Innisfail bank robbery

Ready, set, go!

2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off Friday night with Opening Ceremonies

Penhold house fire under investigation

Fire quickly knocked down

Ontario government promises ‘action’ if Hydro One doesn’t cut proposed CEO pay

TORONTO — Ontario’s energy minister says the government will take “any and… Continue reading

WATCH: Canada Games Hall of Honour inductees offer advice to athletes

The inductees were honoured at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer Thursday

Canada avoids world’s top players in opening round of Davis Cup

MADRID — Canada has avoided a confrontation with any of the current… Continue reading

Canada’s McKeever swaps skis for tuxedo, nominated for Laureus World Sport Award

CALGARY — From a glitzy awards ceremony in Monaco to the nordic… Continue reading

Scrutiny, family woes pile pressure on pregnant Meghan

LONDON — When Meghan Markle became engaged to Prince Harry, the American… Continue reading

It’s a girl! Berlin zoo’s baby polar bear has 1st checkup

Berlin’s Tierpark zoo says its latest baby polar bear is “a perky,… Continue reading

Local Sports: Kaitlan Linnell achieves hockey dream

Coming up through Red Deer minor hockey Kaitlan Linnell had a dream… Continue reading

Michael Kors throws a ’70s bash with Barry Manilow on stage

NEW YORK — Michael Kors threw a fashion show worthy of Studio… Continue reading

CBC aims to double amount of kids programming on Gem streaming service

The CBC says it’s redirecting some funding to invest in programming for… Continue reading

Cleaning routine shows promise in curbing superbug infection

Think of it as decontaminating yourself. Hospitalized patients who harbour certain superbugs… Continue reading

Most Read