Thursday, November 26, 2020

Council approves Capital spending plans for 2021, Finance Office continues on path towards Spring Budget

As the clock on 2020 prepares to wind down a most challenging year, Prince Rupert City Council has started turning its attention towards 2021 and on Monday, they charted the course ahead when it comes to some of the Capital Spending requests from the City's Finance Office.

In a presentation to City Council, Corinne Bomben, the Chief Financial Officer outlined where the city plans to spend on capital projects and purchases for the year ahead. 

As part of her review, Ms. Bomben observed on the many financial instruments that the city has to use towards many of the projects planned for the year ahead. 

She noted how many will be funded out of the Utility revenues, Grants, Reserves, Surplus, Dividends and Debt all part of the city's approach to limit the impact on taxes and utility fees.

Among the notables for the year ahead:

The City will be continuing with the Second phase of the Water Project, the replacement of the Woodworth Lake Dam, with the remaining costs are expected to be financed through a dividend from the Legacy Fund and and approved debt.

The City was awarded a grant towards water treatment, for the year ahed the City will be conducting value engineering and detailed design of the new facility and the replacement of the submarine line.

The final phase of the liquid waste management plan will continue in 2021, the results of the mapping exercise have determined which areas will require repair and attention from the city.

The Landfill expansion cell will be completed in 2021 and go into operation, the project will be financed through debt and repayed through existing solid waste fees.

The road and sidewalk repair and replacement program for 2021 will be set at the same level as that of 2020, which was a doubling of investment from previous years.  Ms. Bomben noted that the roads suffered during the recession and that city staff will continue to recommend increases to the program as new sources of funds are obtained.

Following her report, Councillor Blair Mirau offered up a few thoughts on the process and how the City will move forward on capital projects in the year ahead.

With the councillor commending staff for providing such a significant list of tasks to take place in the next year, following up with a question as to whether the city will be continue with budgeting as normal for 2021, with some capital budgets to be added through the year.

"I would like to say that as far as capital works go, anyone of these projects by itself would be a significant task and so I  just really want to commend staff for being able to do these simultaneously in this next fiscal it's incredibly impressive. My only question is about sequencing of these further 2021 projects is the plan, or the sequencing I suppose still on pace to happen with our regular budget in Spring, in March? ...  I'm wondering if we're still going to able to follow our regular budget process in 2021 and if this further 2021 capital projects are going to be included in that same process"    -- Councillor Blair Mirau

Towards that inquiry, Ms Bomben noted that the budgeting process would be moving ahead as normal but observing how COVID has been problematic as to determine where the city is at with its revenue.

Ms. Bomben also noted that the items discussed on the night had been approved previously and that the other ones are just small items that need to be done in the near term and weren't able to be completed this year and are being rolled over"

The full report for Council can be reviewed below, click on each page to enlarge the image.

The report and follow up discussion can be explored further from the City's Video Archive starting at the three minute mark.

For more notes on the City's Financial themes see our archive page here.

A wider overview of the Monday Council session can be found from our Council Timeline feature, while a wider overview of past Council Discussion themes see our Archive here.

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