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Town’s 2024 Capital Budget sees $5 million in spending

Posted on December 7, 2023 by Taber Times

By Trevor Busch
Taber Times
editor@tabertimes.com

Taber Town Council has passed the 2024 Capital Budget, which includes some big-ticket spending on a Rescue Pumper and a cast iron and sanitary replacement on 45 Avenue.

The total capital budget rings in at $5,052,170, which includes $1,891,170 from reserves, $851,000 from MSI, $525,000 from FGT (federal gas tax), and $1,785,000 from long-term debt.

At the Nov. 14 meeting, council voted 6-1 to pass the 2024 Capital Budget. Coun. Garth Bekkering opposed the motion.

In Information Technology, there will be a Diamond Upgrade $10,000 (from reserves), Annual Computer Upgrade $162,200 (from reserves), Downtown Wi-Fi Improvement $25,000 (from reserves), Server Upgrades $60,000 (from reserves).

For Police, there is a Front Entrance Security Refurbishment $75,000 (from reserves), Radio/Voice Recorder $90,000 (from reserves), Radio Console $140,000 (from reserves), Annual Car Replacement $75,000 (from reserves). For Fire, there will be a Rescue Pumper $1,100,000 ($249,000 from reserves, $851,000 from MSI). 

In Engineering and Public Works, projects include the 44 Street and 51 Avenue Intersection Improvements $125,000 (from FGT), Asphalt Milling and Overlay Program $200,000 (from FGT), Surface Works (Sidewalk Replacement $200,000 (from FGT), Traffic Line Painter – Dual Gun $25,000 (from reserves), Zero Turn Mower $30,000 (from reserves), South Regional Storm Drainage Committment – Phase 1 $242,970 (from reserves), 45 Avenue Cast Iron and Sanitary Replacement $1,550,000 ($575,000 from reserves, $975,000 long-term debt), Lagoon Sludge Removal – 3 Cells $650,000 (from long-term debt), Downtown Sanitary Pipe Relining and Cleaning $160,000 (from long-term debt).

How the municipality should service its long-term debt commitments sparked a conversation among councillors about whether it should be repaid through a series of surcharges to residents on their town utility bills as a levy applied evenly across the board, or whether it should be based on assessed property values. Bekkering was firmly positioned in the latter camp, and later opposed the vote to approve the capital budget.

In Recreation, there will be a UTV Replacement $45,000 (from reserves), Hot Water Pressure Washer $7,000 (from reserves), Skate Park Cement $40,000 (from reserves), Flat Deck Trailer $10,000 (from reserves), Auditorium Table and Chair Replacements $30,000 (from reserves).

Administration has estimated that in 2024 the Town will receive approximately $851,000 from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) which will be replaced with LGFF, $525,000 from the Federal Gas Tax (FGT), now called the Canada Community Building Fund, and a capital contribution of approximately $1.89 million.

The Federal Canada Community-Building Fund (CCBF) was part of the federal Budget 2014 and runs from 2014 to 2024. The program is expected to continue under a renewed agreement beginning in 2024. The CCBF provides predictable, long-term, stable funding for Canadian municipalities to help build and revitalize public infrastructure. 

2023 is the last program year for MSI. Additional program changes have been implemented to facilitate program closure and the transition to the LGFF in 2024. Municipalities will continue to access their unspent MSI funding. The allocation formula and program design are still being developed by the province.

The contributions to capital reserves in the operating budget have been reduced by $171,161, and as such the 2024 Capital projects have been reduced by the same amount.

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