Red Deer City council heard details of a mid-year budget review during a special meeting Tuesday, and ultimately approved a $5.07 million one-time capital investment in a variety of items.
These items ran the gamut from burial of overhead power lines on 48th Ave. to new ambulance replacements.
Ultimately, funding for these projects is planned through capital reserves and there is no anticipated impact on operating reserves or taxation.
The special meeting also included an update on strategic initiatives, and the City’s financial and mid-year budget recommendations for council’s consideration.
“We introduced mid-year budget into our budgeting process a couple of years ago, recognizing that budgets are fluid and particularly in the types of economies that we are navigating through,” explained Mayor Tara Veer. “It’s important for us to check in and see where we are at in terms of our projected budget numbers, and if there are necessary adjustments that need to be made at mid-year,” she said.
“This year, it’s becoming very apparent the lag factor governments often realize with a recession – the full effects on our local government are becoming very, very clear.
“Well on some fronts there has been substantial infrastructure investment in Red Deer from the federal and provincial governments, we are very concerned about the local state of our revenues, particularly with respect to our revenue losses in transit and recreation. So council, in the coming months, will have to have very difficult discussions about the affordability of those services because of those revenue shortfalls,” she added.
As Veer mentioned, the mid-year review showed some reductions in spending, some re-allocations and some new budget dollars in certain areas.
Meanwhile, according to a City release, only a few time-sensitive items were brought forward for council consideration at this year’s mid-year budget deliberations. Items included funding for a north regional water and sewer line, and two Emergency Services ambulance replacements.
Streetscape upgrades along 48th Ave. were also approved.
These include the burial of an overhead power line on the east side of 48th Ave. which will allow the City to create a more pedestrian-friendly link to what will be the Canada Games Celebration Plaza.
Capital reduction of $4.132 million was also realized on the north regional water line as the project costs have come in lower than anticipated, said Veer.
“Red Deer has been appointed as the regional water/wastewater service provider for our region. Portions of the projects came in under budget, so we were able to reduce the budget by the total of the $4.132 million and then re-allocate $2.2 million of that to the west line,” she said, adding the timing of the re-allocation is directly linked to provincial government funding and some of the allocations that they’ve given to both the north and west lines as well.
Dean Krejci, chief financial officer for the City of Red Deer, also outlined a number of financial details as well at this point in the year, offering a summary of the 2017-2021 Operating Budget Forecast.