City council approves 2016 capital budget

  • Dec. 2, 2015 3:41 p.m.

City council has approved the 2016 capital budget valued at $160.6 million. The capital budget includes projects that will take place next year, multi-year projects starting in 2016 or projects that require additional funding from previous years.

The 2016 capital budget focuses on key areas including infrastructure replacement and rehabilitation projects which include approved projects such as enterprise business applications, CPR pedestrian bridge remediation and crown paving. The budget also focuses on current growth projects which are focused within the current City growth area and include approved projects such as Alexander Way Phase 3, 67th St. corridor improvements and an additional snow storage site.

Future growth projects includes approved projects such as Electric, Light & Power service area expansion and the central park water trunk and community amenity projects include projects such as Riverwalk Phase 1, Memorial Centre preservation and enhancements to Great Chief Park and River Bend Recreation Area.

“With Red Deer exceeding 100,000 citizens and hosting major events such as the 2019 Canada Winter Games, we are budgeting for the needs of our community now and in the future. With this, also comes the need to weigh and consider the current economic uncertainty. To make our possibilities a reality we are targeting our investments towards projects and infrastructure that positions us as Alberta’s third largest city and we will continue to advocate for Red Deer’s needs with the provincial and federal government,” said Mayor Tara Veer.

With the approval of today’s capital budget, the City’s debt limit sits at 58%, which is below the 75% debt limit set by council.

“When we developed this budget for council’s consideration, we focused on balancing vision and economic reality,” said City Manager Craig Curtis.

“The reality is there is some economic uncertainty and recognizing this, we recommended a capital budget that is less than what we proposed in 2015 while putting forward a plan that respects council’s direction, vision and budget guidelines surrounding debt limit and tax increases.”

Along with the 2016 capital budget, Council approved the 2017-2025, $1.38 billion capital plan in principle allowing the flexibility for administration to adjust the priorities outlined in the plan based on community need and project funding.

“A project’s inclusion in the capital plan does not mean that it is necessarily going ahead, it simply means that the City is considering it, planning for it, and looking at financing options,” said Curtis. “We plan projects well into the future based on council direction, community needs and funding.”

– Fawcett

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