Sylvan plows into new budget

Boosting snow plowing service will be on the table as the Sylvan Lake town council begins its budget number crunching this week.

Boosting snow plowing service will be on the table as the Sylvan Lake town council begins its budget number crunching this week.

Council was recently given a series of options to upgrade snow removal in light of this winter’s record snowfalls.

Among changes to be considered by council will be the introduction of an “urgent” snow clearing category that would see most residential routes plowed in five to seven days at an estimated cost of $150,000. A non-urgent plowing system would remain an option and would cost $35,000 to clear roads in 10 to 14 days.

A proposal to put $50,000 into a facade improvement pilot project is also up for discussion. It is suggested that the program provide $5,000 per building or $7,500 for a corner lot. Council will also consider $7,500 and $15,000 options.

Budget talks are starting later than usual this year in Sylvan Lake.

Town communications officer Joanne Gaudet said the usual December budget talks were delayed because some members of council — which has four new members — had booked Christmas holidays and would not be available.

More time was also needed to bring the newcomers up to speed on the budget and strategic planning process.

“The information is going to be the same. We’re just giving them a little longer to absorb it and take their time with it.”

Staff presentations will run for three days, up from two, and a Friday evening session has been added for council budget deliberations, which typically were held just on Saturday (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

The draft budget is expected to go before council at its Jan. 13 meeting.

Public are welcome at budget sessions, which will begin on Tuesday at 5 p.m. with a budget overview followed by presentations on administration, council and finance.

Planning and development and public works, which will include the snow clearing policy, follow on Wednesday. Thursday is reserved for community service and library discussions.

Friday’s operating and capital budget deliberations run from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

The size of the draft operating and capital budgets is under wraps until council has seen them.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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