City council tackles mid-year budget review

  • Aug. 21, 2013 4:21 p.m.

City council met Tuesday morning to take a look at the mid-year budget review and heard from City Manager Craig Curtis on this topic.

“This is just the final presentation to council on the main impacts for next year and how we’re getting along with the charters and the previous strategic direction,” said Curtis.

In looking at the 2009-2011 strategic plan and the projects that were implemented in those years, Curtis said the City is doing really well in completion of the projects and start-ups on additional items.

Some of the things that Curtis said have been big points of pride for the City to date are the birth of the Greater Downtown Action Plan, the creation of the waste management master plan and the climate change adaptation plan, and the number of Centennial projects completed this year including the permanent fixture at the museum.

Julia Harvie-Shemko, director of communications and strategic planning, said the people working on each charter are proud of the progress they have made.

“We are currently just halfway through the implementation of your strategic direction. Each has started at a different time and is at different rates of progress,” said Harvie-Shemko.

Paul Goranson, director of development services, presented on the movement charter and said a lot of progress has been made.

“When you add up the additional trails it’s just over six kilometres in the last year that has been put in place,” said Goranson.

While the six strategic directions were a large part of Tuesday’s discussion, other topics included the 2013 flood update.

Expenditures related to the initial response, clean up and remediation work related to the June 2013 flood have been made at this point. Curtis’s report to council stated clearly that there will be further expenses to complete work.

Another item that garnered a special request was the action bus purchase and operations. A review of the increasing demand for specialized door-to-door bus service is always ongoing.

Administration’s recommendation is to amend the 2013 capital budget in the amount of $70,000 for the purchase of an additional Action Bus funded from the Federal Gas Tax Fund. It is also recommended that the 2013 operating budget be amended in the amount of $0 in 2013 with incremental costs of $69,510 in ongoing funds in 2014 and $4,884 in ongoing funds in 2015.

There is on average 400 new eligible citizens per year accessing the Action Bus service, which is a 25% increase since integrating the service with Red Deer transit in 2007.

Transit also requested another amendment to the 2013 capital budget for funding to provide regional bus service that would connect Red Deer with Blackfalds and Lacombe.

The amendment would be in the amount of $900,000 for the purchase of two buses but the City of Lacombe and the Town of Blackfalds would contribute one-third of the cost for the two new buses. Red Deer’s obligation would be to reassign the Green TRIP funds.

Curtis’s recommendation is to go ahead with this amendment as it “Is a good opportunity for the City to provide transit at no direct cost to taxpayers.”

Other items discussed at the mid-year budget review included the diversity employment program, the Lancaster East storm detention pond, Red Deer City Soccer Association financial support request, Central Alberta Slo-Pitch financial support request and an update on the capital reserve.

Council had not voted on items at press time.

kpalardy@reddeerexpress.com

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