Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Capital budget work nearly done

The town has all but finished its 2014 capital budget, which is being paid for without resorting to long-term debt financing.
Council learned Tuesday that the $8-million budget will be paid for through federal and provincial grants, contributions from other sources/donations, federal gas tax funds, reserve funds, water and sewer reserve funds, or water and sewer rates.

The capital budget includes more than 100 items, which range from a back-up generator for the water treatment plant ($300,000) to a snowplow truck replacement ($255,000) and three new pickup trucks ($105,000 altogether).
Also on the list are a fire-training facility for the fire department ($18,000), upgrades to Sunny Cove camp ($8,000), and new fitness equipment at the Memorial Sports Centre ($8,000).
Many of the bigger-ticket items in the budget are contingent on the town getting funding, which may or may not happen this year.
These include the replacement of 478 metres of water and sewer mains on Colonization Road West, the reconstruction of Scott Street from Reid Avenue to Colonization Road East, and surface treatments for Eighth Street from Portage Avenue to Christie Avenue, Frog Creek Road, and Oakwood Road.
Other items are a front-end loader/sweeper for the airport and an accessibility project at the East End Hall.
Annual or committed projects the town must continue include ongoing energy retrofits at various municipal buildings, street light pole replacements, Public Works and Parks small equipment purchases, waterfront dock repairs and replacement, computer upgrades, and a mobile devices project.
Capital budget items fully funded by contributions from other sources and donations include upgrades to the Children’s Complex, electronic equipment for the Fort Frances Museum (some of which tie into the ongoing newspaper archiving project), road surface treatment for Fifth Street from Portage Avenue to Wright Avenue, sidewalk replacement for Third Street East from Crowe Avenue to Frenette Avenue, and the installation of two compactor units at the Public Works recycling transfer station.
The breakdown of how the capital budget will be paid for is as follows:
•federal grants—$267,860;
•provincial grants—$2.9 million;
•contributions from others/donations—$141,768;
•federal gas tax—$806,763;
•reserve funds—$590,754;
•water/sewer reserves—$2.1 million; and
•water/sewer rates—$1.5 million.
The town currently has total reserve funds equalling $9.2 million—more than half of which is dedicated specifically to water and sewer.
If it does all of the projects currently identified in the capital budget, about $3.5 million of those reserves will be used.
Adding back in interest earned and new contributions to reserves in 2014, the town is estimated to have $7.4 million in its reserve funds by the end of this year.

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