Red Deer City council tackled the 2014 capital budget yesterday.
At press time, it was unknown if council had approved the budget as it was recommended, but as presented the 2014 budget totaled $104 million.
In addition, council also had a look at the capital plan.
“The 2014-2023 capital plan is really about developing and investing in our core infrastructure for the growth of our community,” said Craig Curtis, City manager. “Just having celebrated 100 years, we are reminded that we have really come a long way in growing and developing a vibrant community and we want to continue that trend.”
Through the last few years, Red Deer has faced some tough challenges, while retaining a good quality of life for its citizens. Some of those recent challenges include lower revenue from investments, lower revenue from land sales, lower offsite levy contributions, and a significant reduction in provincial funding in relation to the original commitment.
“We need to keep in mind that the economic climate is constantly changing,” said Dean Krejci, Chief Financial Officer. “We worked hard to put together a capital plan that adjusts to the new economic reality while maintaining the vision and direction that Council has established.”
During budget discussions this year, council will consider both current and multi-year capital projects totaling $104 million. The capital plan for the next 10 years totals $1.359 billion based on current projections.
The 10-year capital plan projections are intended as estimated placeholders and planning tools which show future need. A project’s inclusion in the 10-year capital plan does not mean that it is going ahead. It simply means that The City is considering it, planning for it, and considering financing options. The only projects approved by council are those planned for 2014, multi-year projects beginning in 2014, or projects in need of additional funding in 2014.
When reviewing the 2014 capital budget for approval, council will consider the expected project costs and the cost of deferral. council will take into account the total 10-year capital plan rather than just the 2014 capital budget to help ensure capital financing is available in the future, and that the operating budget is not unreasonably impacted.
“The capital plan we are bringing forward to council is really setting Red Deer up for success and growth in the future,” said Curtis. “By investing in these core services and amenities, we are building the foundation that will allow us to keep track of our vision, and provide services that meet the needs of the community.”
As for the capital plan, a new aquatics centre is not on the books currently. Council will however consider spending $150,000 for a feasibility study for a new aquatics centre.
“We need to prioritize that with the other projects that are being requested.”