by Tristan Turner
Morinville News Correspondent
Council has unanimously passed First Reading of their 2017 Capital Plan, as well as their long-term plan update stretching to 2037. The Capital Plan outlines a budget for infrastructure spending for the municipality, as opposed to day-to-day expenses of running the Town outlined in the operational budget, which also received First Reading.
The document outlines nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in capital spending, with a combined $205,566,615 in spending over the 20-year period, with the largest detailed budget in those years coming down in 2017. This is largely due to the construction of phase one of the new recreation centre complex, a $17,200,000 expenditure in 2017 and $56,820,000 total budgeted for the second and first phase combined.
Despite this current estimate, the future of revenue and costs for the Town involved in the project are largely unclear. Potential provincial, federal and county dollars may reduce ultimate expenses for Morinville rate payers.
Some big ticket long term items include $18,000,000 for a new protective services building, $24,660,000 to pave East Boundary Road, $10,016,702 to finish 100 Street between the rail tracks and Cardiff Road, and tens of millions of dollars in various road revitalization projects.
Additionally, $21,600,000 is budgeted for a new Business Park lift station funded by utility revenue, along with a new $3,168,000 force main for the same area.
The budget is separated into Utility-Supported and Tax-Supported categories. Utility Supported projects are investments in the Town’s utility infrastructure funded by residents’ utility bills to the Town. Tax projects are similarly funded by property taxes. Utility projects add up to $39,284,380 over 20 years, $305,000 in 2017. Tax projects add up to $166,282,235 over 20 years, $19,713,300 in 2017.
Residents with questions, concerns or comments for Council can read the entire draft capital plan online now. The document is available in their Oct. 25 Council Agenda package. There will be a public budget open house with mayor and council on Nov. 2 at Town Hall along 100 Avenue. During this open house, residents can make proposals and ask questions to the Mayor and Council, as well as hear presentations about major capital projects.
Second Reading of the plans will be given on Nov. 8. If that passes, likely with amendments, it will move forward to Third Reading for further amendment on Nov. 22. These meetings are public, as are all regular meetings of Council. It is possible that council may decide to pass Third Reading of the plans along with Second Reading on the 8th.
Citizens can also participate in the online ‘Citizen Budget’ tool available on the Town’s website which allows residents to prioritize certain projects over others, and offer their opinion on aspects of the capital plan.