Blackfalds has found a way to save more than $500,000 by doing a little number crunching.
Town council voted Wednesday in favour of a pair of measures to pay off the RCMP detachment building and the Blackfalds Field House at the Abbey Centre by debenture through the Alberta Capital Finance Authority.
The authority specializes in loaning money to municipalities, school boards or similar entities and can offer lower rates than a single municipality could get on its own. Blackfalds was able to get 1.75 per cent funding.
The move will save an estimated $370,000 over the nine years left to finish paying the remaining $5.04 million on the Abbey Centre facility. Re-financing will save $147,000 over eight years on the RCMP building, where $2.3 million is owing.
Mayor Melodie Stol said it makes sense to go to debenture financing and its fixed terms at a time when there isn’t as much economic growth in the community.
When money was first borrowed for the facilities, the community was expanding rapidly which meant there was more tax revenue coming in to put towards loans to pay them down quicker.
“Now that the economy is more flat and growth is a little flatter it makes more sense to switch it to this (debenture) method.”
Council is also looking into energy savings.
Grants are available for municipalities that take measures to improve energy efficiency, such as the installation of solar panels. The town’s Civic Centre, Abbey Centre and multi-purpose facility were identified as potential sites.
The Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, which was established by the Alberta government in 2009, is offering matching funding to municipalities which take on projects such as solar energy.
Consultants proposed that a feasibility study be undertaken to determine what solar energy capture would cost and how much the town stood to save on its power bills.
Council approved a motion for staff to put together a request for proposals on a feasibility analysis of solar power.