Centre Wellington committee of whole recommends approval of $9-million capital budget for 2016

Centre Wellington council’s committee of the whole is recommending adoption of a $9-million capital budget for 2016.

That amount excludes equipment and vehicle replacement recommendations.

The recommendation was made at the Nov. 25 committee of the whole session and final approval of the capital budget will be considered on Dec. 14.

The recommendations were brought forward in three parts, allowing councillor Don Fisher to declare a conflict of interest regarding the Victoria Street pedestrian bridge and to vote on the balance of the budget.

Councillor Fred Morris was not in attendance at the Nov. 25 meeting,  though he had attended the previous day’s committee of the whole.

The proposed plan includes internal debt financing and staff will bring forward an amended township reserves and reserve funds policy accordingly. In addition, the recommendations provide for preliminary approval for 2017 and 2018 within the 10-year capital forecast.

Financial manager and deputy-treasurer Mark Bradey explained “the capital budget represents a significant portion of the total dollars spent by the township in any given year.”

He noted in 2015, the capital budget, before vehicle and equipment replacement, represented approximately $7.3 million of internal sources of financing. That amount includes both tax-supported and user-pay sources of funding (water and wastewater rates), and excludes debt.

By comparison, the 2016 draft capital budget proposes an internally funded amount of approximately $8.1 million. Bradey explained this increase is mainly the result of an additional $1.1 million in proposed water and wastewater projects in 2016.

The draft capital budget includes projects funded by external sources – grants, development charges, and developer and partner contributions – totalling approximately $0.8 million.

Bradey said, “this brings the total 2016 draft capital budget, before vehicle and equipment replacement, to approximately $9 million.”

He added “The $0.8-million of external funding is mainly from development charges (funding capital projects that have a growth component).

“The residual of the $0.8M is a small grant of $25,000 and a donation of $50,000.”

While vehicle and equipment replacement costs are part of the capital budget, Bradey explained these “lifecycle items” will be discussed at the January meetings as their funding has a very close relationship to the operating budget and therefore a direct impact on the tax rate.