Council debates $87 million capital budget

Red Deer City council will debate the 2011 capital budget today which totals $87 million.

Council will consider 84 projects in the capital budget, the largest project being the multi-year Riverlands subdivision development at a cost of $17.8 million to prepare City owned lands for future development.

Other projects include park land acquisition including the Bower Natural Area and Heritage Ranch redevelopment, the Gaetz Ave. revitalization, the realignment of 55 St. and railyards development, phase one of Garden Heights and other engineering projects.

“This budget will be very tough,” said Mayor Morris Flewwelling. “We’ve been able to fund the 10-year capital plan but in doing so we’ve had to push off some projects.”

The City is estimating its allowable debt limit for 2011 to be about $376 million.

In addition, council will review the City’s 10-year capital plan.

“The 2011-2020 capital plan is designed to keep the City on track towards our long term vision while responding to the economic recovery,” said Craig Curtis, City manager. “We had to make substantial revisions to the capital plan this year with 23 projects deferred within the plan or pushed out to the year 2021, and five projects removed from the capital plan.”

Deferred projects in the 10-year capital plan include phase one of the Civic Centre, streetscape upgrades on Alexander Way as well as major upgrades to Gaetz Ave. and an expansion to the Collicutt Centre as well as a 50 metre pool.

Projects removed from the plan include the Museum Centennial project and a performing arts centre and concert hall.

“We have certainly slowed the budget and I think there is as much disappointment internally as there is going to be externally as we take this budget forward,” said Flewwelling. “We simply don’t have the luxury of the funding to do all of the things we’d like to do.”

The capital plan for the next 10 years totals $1.6 billion based on current projections.

The 10-year 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 means that the City is considering it, planning for it and considering financial options.

In addition, City council will debate and ultimately approve the 2011 capital budget at City Hall today.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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