FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John presented Council with the draft capital budget for 2019-2023 at a recent Committee of the Whole Meeting.
David Joy, General Manager of Corporate Services, presented Council with the draft capital budget.
The capital budget covers longterm projects like roads, sidewalks, buildings and machinery. This budget is not funded by property taxes, but other revenue streams including the Peace River Agreement with the Province.
Over the next five years, the City has budgeted $256 million for capital projects.
Joy says the City has a current debt capacity available of $76 million, with $14 million available for the debt servicing capacity.
“What we have available to us is a $76 million that we could go into debt for which we wouldn’t want to do necessarily. The debt servicing capacity, that we have available to us is $14 million if we wanted to go into debenture to pay for something.”
In 2019, the capital budget includes four-laning of 100 street up to Northern Lights College for $5.9 million, $5.5 million for renovations at Centennial Park, $2.8 million for the new RCMP building with more money budgeted for that project in 2020 and 2021. The list of projects in 2019 also includes a fire training centre for $1.5 million and sewage lift station upgrades worth $4 million.
Joy says the new RCMP building’s funding will be covered by both the PRA and Municipal debentures if it will be a fully integrated building. He also adds that the lease payments from the RCMP will help cover the debentures.
“A big one coming up, obviously, is the RCMP building and if it’s a fully integrated building, with the Provincial side and the Municipal side, will be financed with about 60 percent PRA money and 40 percent will have a debenture issued. The lease payments that we charge to the RCMP will match the debt servicing obligations of the debenture.”
Joy also said that the debenture will still have to go to a referendum by explaining to the public that the Provincial portion will not affect the tax rates.
This meeting was the first of many public budget meetings that have been scheduled and served as an introduction to the 2019 Capital Budget. Further direction will be provided at future meetings.
The deadline for the budget to be finalized is May 15, 2019, with City staff planning to have it finalized and approved by Council sometime in April.