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April 13, 2024 April 13, 2024

Council agrees to carry forward 2023 projects and budget money

Posted on March 6, 2024 by Taber Times

By Cal Braid
Taber Times
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

At the Feb. 26 regular meeting of Taber council, the administration proposed two ‘carry forward’ items for discussion: the capital projects and the operating budget from 2023.

Capital projects

The administration asked council to carry forward capital projects from 2023 that require $6,728,997.59 for completion. It also asked council to approve 25 per cent funding of the 51 Street and 47 Avenue park in the amount of $40,907.12 from capital reserves. The park project will be 75 per cent funded by the Canadian Community Revitalization Fund with the remaining 25 per cent to be funded by the Town. The total cost of the project is $163,628.44.

Other previously approved projects like the transfer station road rehab and the Taber park access road rehab are grant dependent and won’t be started until funds are confirmed. Projects at the Trout Pond – a day use camp kitchen and a storage shed – have been cancelled. The Water Master Plan is an ongoing project that was not budgeted for but received $60,000 from the Climate Resilience Capacity building program in 2023.

John Orwa, director of corporate services and chief financial officer, reminded council that they were deciding on a two-part motion and the second part was specifically $40,907.12 (25 per cent) for the park. Coun. Firth asked, “So that 25 per cent, was it originally in the budget? I was just curious why it was coming from capital reserves. So there was nothing ever budgeted for the remaining amount of that grant?”

Orwa said “Originally it was budgeted to come from the gas tax fund, but once that project was discontinued there was no application that went through. If you don’t apply based on the project, you can never use that money for that particular project.” The discussion didn’t go further than that, and council approved both motions.

The capital expenditures sheet showed that 41 of 71 projects had been completed. Twenty-eight others were either designated as ‘carry forward’ or ‘overage from operating’, and the two Trout Pond projects were eliminated. The budget, actual expenditures, and variance were broken down individually in a table, which is available in the Town’s online agenda.

Operating budget

The administration asked council to approve the transfer of $179,728 from the 2023 operating budget into the operating reserves for 2024. The transfer of funds is due to the delay in products and services. Council was given the option to approve a transfer of the full amount or to approve the transfer of a different amount from the 2023 budget into the 2024 reserves. John Orwa said, “These were items that were budgeted for, but they have not been completed. So if we don’t carry forward this amount it will roll into the general revenue.” He said that at the end of the year he compiles a list of unfinished projects and he listed them in the agenda. Coun. McLean sought a better explanation for the transfer. “I guess you need council’s approval to carry forward monies. In my mind if it’s already approved, it would just automatically carry forward.”

Orwa said, “That’s correct. If you don’t carry it forward, for them to complete the project…they will have to come back with a (new) request for the money.” Council approved the transfer.

Five departments were listed as recipients of the carry forward: information technology, police, wastewater treatment, water treatment, and roads. The IT carryover is just over $17,000, police approximately $10,000, roads $2,800, and the remainder to the water treatment plants. The WWTP has over $67,000 of work left on two projects/parts and the WTP has over $80,000 for three pieces of equipment.

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