In what is considered a “no frills” budget, Red Deer city council approved $160.6 million in spending for capital projects in 2016.
The budget includes line items for projects starting next year or multi-year projects starting in 2016.
As with most capital budgets, the projects focus on replacing infrastructure, building for growth and community amenity projects.
Mayor Tara Veer said the budget honours contractual commitments and moves the community forward in some key infrastructure areas.
Veer said the city is budgeting for the needs of our community now and in the future. She said it also weighs and considers the current economic uncertainty.
“To make our possibilities a reality we are targeting our investments towards projects and infrastructure that positions us as Alberta’s third largest city,” said Veer. “We will continue to advocate for Red Deer’s needs with the provincial and federal government.”
The capital budget carried over to a second day on Wednesday, a first in city history.
She said this speaks to council’s desire to have a transparent local government and do right by the community.
Veer said this was her 11th budget and believes it may have been the one with the most rigorous debate.
Big ticket items ranged from spending $12 million to improve the south east transportation sector corridor to the smaller items of building community gardens at $43,000.
Council also adopted in principle a $1.38 billion capital for 2017 to 2025, another first. Veer said it is a foundational plan that will allow the city to provide some certainty to community but also the ability to respond to emerging issues and adjust in the face of economic reality.
The adoption of the budget puts the city’s debit limit at 58 per cent, which is below the 75 per cent council imposed debt limit.