by Tristan Turner
In a unanimous decision, Council has passed both their short-term capital plan for 2016, as well as a long-term capital plan going until 2035. The long-term plan is not binding but gives administration direction for future capital plans.
Before passing, however, Council cut more than a quarter of a million dollars in provisions from the plan. First to be cut was $79,000 for the emergency air sirens previously brought forward by Councillor Dafoe in response to a resident information request. It was Dafoe himself who brought forward the cut saying, “We heard loud and clear that his is not a priority right now.”
Councillor Gord Putnam also put forward a motion to cut the amount available for a new equipment cold storage structure from $95,000 to $75,000, commenting that he felt nearly a six-figure sum was too much to pay for a non-permanent storage building. The motion narrowly passed, with Councillor Fitzgerald, Boutestein and Mayor Holmes voting against the motion.
There was a motion to remove the south entrance sign from the budget entirely, moved by Councillor Nicole Boutestein. Councillor Stephen Dafoe commented once again that “now is not the time to build monuments to ourselves.” Dafoe said he would rather the town invest in signs when they are “flush with cash” than in a tight year. Mayor Lisa Holmes debated the time was right to do a proper sign on the highway when investors were looking at the community. The motion to remove the sign failed 2-5 with Councillors Dafoe and Boutestein voting to take it out of the budget completely.
Councillor Barry Turner shortly afterwards motioned to half the amount for the sign in the budget, taking it from $65,000 down to $32,500, commenting that the only major change is that it would be smaller than the one previously expected. Councillor Dafoe supported the idea and argued once this sign is complete and economic times are better, the town could buy a new bigger sign for the highway and move this smaller one to the north end of town, which also has yet to have the sign authorized back in 2011. Turner’s motion passed 5-2 with Councillor Ladouceur and Councillor Putnam voting against the cut.
Council also voted unanimously to remove a proposed $125,000 sign for the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. However, included in the budget is the consideration to put signage on the building to properly identify it.
Some items remaining in the Capital Plan for 2016 are a pedestrian crossing light at 107 Street and 100 Avenue (Shell Corner) and flashing lights to be added to the six stop signs at 100 Avenue and Grandin Drive.