FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Fort St. John City Council got a rundown of items that could be appearing in the City’s Capital Budget over the next five years.
The City’s General Manager of Corporate Services David Joy presented a draft of the 2018 – 2022 Capital Budget at a Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday afternoon. Joy outlined the City’s various revenue streams including the Peace River Agreement with the Province, which he said made up nearly half of the $57.1 million allocated for Capital expenditures in 2018.
Overall, Joy gave the City’s finances a clean bill of health. He explained that the City will receive an average of $26.4 million per year from the Peace River Agreement for the next five years, for a total of $131.9 million. In addition, the City has nearly $76 million in reserves for both its Capital and Operating Budgets, and it has a capacity to borrow up to $185.6 million over the long term, though he advised Council against borrowing that maximum amount. Joy said that the City’s reserves are healthy largely due to what he said was fiscal prudence displayed by Council in the past years.
For the past few years, the City has divided Capital spending into a total of five categories, which take up the following percentages of the budget:
- Transportation -35%
- Facilities and Parks. – 10%
- Equipment, vehicles, and machinery. – 15%
- Operating costs (including staff) – 10%
- Other one-time capital projects – 30%
In the Transportation category, the City is budgeting $5.3 million for upgrades to 92A St. between 87th and 94th Avenues. An additional $5.27 million has been earmarked for Local Area Service upgrades, $5 million of which would be spent to extend the Tahltan Road. Other big road improvements possibly taking place next year are the continuation of the 100th St. four-laning project and Paving the 86th St. Frontage Road from 93rd to 98th Ave, with both costing $1.5 million each.
The largest items in next year’s capital budget for Facilities and Building projects is the renovations at Centennial Park, which will total just over $4 million next year and $2 million in 2019. $1.59 million has been set aside for Trail and Parks upgrades next year, along with $500,000 for a new dog park, and $750,000 for a new Fire Training Centre.
Included in facilities is the cost of getting detailed plans for the $45 million new RCMP facility in Fort St. John. $3.1 million will be spent on new RCMP building in 2018, with roughly $20 million earmarked to be spent in 2019 and 2020. City staff have not yet secured any provincial and federal grants for the project, as General Manager of Community Services, Wally Ferris explained that no “umbrella” grants exist to cover such large projects. Ferris added that staff will be looking at whether individual parts of the project qualify for grants and that the City will be applying for as many of those as possible. Council also moved to set up a meeting with MP Bob Zimmer before Christmas about getting federal government support.
Joy said that the City is planning to allocate just under $17 million on Water and Sewer projects in 2018. Of that, $7.5 million will be spent on the Resource Recovery Centre, and $4,025,000 will go to the Sewage Lift Station upgrades. Other items of note in next year’s budget include the purchase of wheeled bins for residents as the City will commence its yard waste recycling program. However, staff said that the bins will be limited to yard and garden recycling, as food scraps and other organics aren’t able to be handled by the North Peace Landfill.
IT Infrastructure upgrades will cost the city just over $1 million next year, with an additional $440,000 on software and systems development. One item that was also included in the draft budget is $85,000 in both 2018 and 2019 for a staff position as part of the RCMP’s Cold Case Project.
The City plans to hold public consultations on next year’s Capital Budget draft before the final budget is adopted early in 2018.
A full copy of the 2018-2022 Capital Budget draft can be found below.