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February 8th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 6
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Council approves capital budget
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
ANNA KROUPINA
Pass Herald Reporter
Council passed the capital budget for 2017 and 2018 at a meeting on Jan. 30.

The budget requirements for 2017 capital initiatives total $9.2 million and include six new initiatives for $142,500 kicking off this year. The 2018 requirements amount to approximately $8.6 million and include the $2.3 million water meters project.

The funds for 2017 capital projects will go to a number of sources. A total of $672,000 will be invested in fleet upgrades/replacement for the Fire Department. An additional $2.25 million will be put into deep infrastructure replacement, which includes the Downtown Coleman Revitalization Project and pump house upgrades. An additional $6 million on top of that will go to phase three of the Frank Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade.

The municipal office will see an investment of $75,000 for IT upgrades, and $30,000 will go to repairing the Bellevue Seniors’ Centre roof. Funding of $10,000 will go to Walking Trail Connection, while Crowsnest Pass Fire/Rescue will receive $110,000 for upgrades.
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At the meeting, Council also discussed and ultimately voted to retain the Communities in Bloom new initiative for $15,000, with councillors in agreement that a beautification project would be beneficial to the community in terms of attracting tourists and businesses. They also voted to leave in the Solar Panel Study for the time being, although they directed Administration to pursue the terms of study prior to proceeding with the project officially.

Council will continue to deliberate the operating budget. Their primary concern is the high utility rate currently presented in the draft budget, particularly the sewer rate increases. In early budget deliberations, Council had set a maximum rate for utilities increase at 2.5 percent.

Wastewater expenditures are proposed to increase by 25 percent, while water would be up by 3.5 percent and both solid waste and recycling would increase by 2.5 percent.

The majority of the 25 percent wastewater increase is due to the interest payment for the Frank Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade.
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“Essentially, we will be paying almost $100,000 in interest payments in 2017 which is equivalent to about 19% of the increase,” says Patrick Thomas, Director of Development, Engineering & Operations. “In addition, repairs that are required at the Bellevue/Hillcrest Wastewater Treatment Facility are approximately $30,000 which is equivalent to the other 6% of the increase. If we were not required to do upgrades at both those facilities, we would not need to any increase on the wastewater utility rates.”

Council’s goal was to have a 1.5 percent tax increase and a 2.5 percent utility increase. Currently, the proposed budget is at a 2.4 percent tax increase.
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February 8th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 6
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