City receives funding boost for capital projects

The City of Red Deer has received a $1.2-million boost to pay for capital projects in the city.

The City of Red Deer has received a $1.2-million boost to pay for capital projects in the city.

The city received $18 million from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative capital grants, a $1.2 million increase from last year. But on the MSI operating side, the city received $717,000, a $550,000 reduction.

The city had braced and budgeted for the expected reduction in operating funds.

The provincial MSI funding is earmarked to allow communities to build or upgrade public transit vehicles and facilities, recreation facilities, roadways and bridges and storm sewer systems.

Overall, the province allocated $3.7 billion over three years in the 2014 budget.

Red Deer’s grant will go into the overall capital plan for the city.

City manager Craig Curtis said there are a number of community projects in the plan that do not have funding sources. The grant does not have to be spent in 2014.

Curtis said while the city is pleased with the slight increases in some grants, they are disappointed there was no increase in the Family and Community Support Services grant. This money is used to fund social programs in the community.

“But overall, considering the problems the province has had, we don’t find the formula unreasonable,” said Curtis. “And the reduction was anticipated from the (province’s) decision last year.”

The Basic Municipal Transit grant shifted departments and will now be administered by Municipal Affairs.

Red Deer received $6 million, a slight increase of $262,000 in 2014 as a result of population growth.

The Alberta government committed $667 million in Green Transit Incentives Program (GreenTRIP) funding through to 2016-17

Curtis said there may be an opportunity for Red Deer to tap in.

Last year, Red Deer reassigned $600,000 of its GreenTrip funding to move along the regional transit system that will connect Red Deer, Lacombe and Blackfalds. Red Deer received a grant up to $12.1 million to buy buses in 2011.

The agreements are in place and the regional service is expected to be up and running sometime in September.

MSI funding including Basic Municipal Transit grant Basic Municipal Transit grant elsewhere in Central Alberta: Blackfalds – $1,804,976; Innisfail – $2,044,065; Lacombe – $2,993,130; Sylvan Lake – $3,453,398; Ponoka – $1,707,496; Red Deer County – $6,893,452; Rimbey – $690,356; Rocky Mountain House -$1,866,967.

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