By Cal Braid
Sunny South News
Coaldale council continued their 2023 budget deliberations on Nov. 22. It was the second of four budget meetings held to evaluate the Town’s spending priorities and long-term fiscal interests.
Kyle Beauchamp, CFO and deputy CAO for the Town began by noting that 57 per cent of the town’s road network is in immediate need of rehabilitation. Beauchamp’s presentation stated that the administration “has built into the 2023 capital budget proposal an infusion of asphalt renewal projects as a way to make a ‘dent’ in our current transportation backlog. In 2024 and beyond, administration will bring forward recommendations for a yearly road rehabilitation schedule that can be worked into the Town’s annual operating budget to set ourselves up for a more manageable, incremental, and sustainable rehabilitation program in successive years.” Beauchamp proposed a year-over-year increase of $100,000 to the Town’s operating budget that would enable it to perform annual road maintenance, and by doing so, not fall behind those maintenance needs.
Item 4B-3 on the agenda was capital savings for a future pool. At a Sept. 26 meeting, council approved $495,000 in renovations for the existing pool. Beauchamp’s presented the case that budgeting now for a new facility would help reduce financial pressures in the future.
“What we’ve proposed here—similar to the roads program—is a year-over-year increase. We’ve picked $50,000 for the purpose of discussion. What this would do is two things: it creates a cash balance that in ten years, we have a reserve that can be used to fund a pool or a down payment, depending on the scope and magnitude of the facility. (If ) we’ve been building up that operating budget over a period of time, by the time we pull the trigger, we’re fairly well set, based upon what the community is looking for.” The projection using the $50,000 year-over-year increase showed that in 10 years the cash savings balance would total $2.75 million.
Council also heard options pertaining to the Sunny South News full circulation pilot project; one that was implemented for five months, and concludes in December. Administration proposed three options to council for when the pilot project ends: First, to discontinue the full circulation agreement with SSN. Second, to continue with full circulation on a year-to-year basis. Third, enter into a new agreement with SSN that would see a single addressed copy of the paper delivered to each home once a month. Administration recommended the second option, saying that it was less labour-intensive and costly than the third. Unaddressed copies of the paper cost between 36 and 42 cents to ‘blanket’ deliver, and addressed copies cost approximately 70 cents.
Part three of the deliberations focused on the Town’s capital budgeting for the years 2023-2027 and was extensive. Capital budget items include fleet and heavy equipment, buildings and facilities, construction projects, and utility projects.
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