Town Council approves $3.5M capital budget

At a $3.5M, the 2016 capital budget is a mix of project spending, new equipment purchases and upgrades, and savings for coming years.

Coming in at $3,586,600, the 2016 capital budget is a mix of project spending, new equipment purchases and upgrades, and savings for coming years.

Approved unanimously by council at its Feb. 2 meeting, the budget, which plans out spending for non-operational spending in 2016, pulls from general and capital reserves, operating budgets, grants and county cost-sharing sources.

Some of the major upgrades coming in 2016 include new shingles for the Community Hall and other upgrades at $100,000, water main replacements on 51 Avenue between 57-59 streets at $420,000, and heating replacements at the Stettler Recreation Centre at $140,000.

The town is also socking away $385,300 into recreation reserves for future upgrades and projects. The town and county work together to fund recreation as per a recreation agreement hammered out last year with the help of a mediator. Of the $385,300 going into reserves, the County of Stettler contributed roughly $93,000 and the town $175,000 to meet the obligations of the agreement. On top of that, the town added an additional $118,400.

The town will be taking $873,950 from general reserves and an additional $111,500 from other reserves to fund its capital budget. The remaining $2,601,150 comes from other sources, such as county funding, grants, utility surpluses and other funding sources.

Bylaw revisited

A 51 Street building, the focus of a bylaw that passed first reading at the previous town council meeting on Jan. 19, appeared on the agenda again at the recommendation of staff, who suggested the town take a different route in zoning the building.

The new owner of the property, which is currently zoned commercial, had asked for the lot to be rezoned so it could be residential or commercial. The building, located between 49 and 50 avenues, is mostly commercial, with old homes being converted to businesses.

The bylaw read at the last meeting would make the change in zoning, but staff came back and said it wouldn’t be the best route, as it would create a residential section in an otherwise commercial area, something that is not ideal when it comes to community planning.

Instead, staff recommended the property be left zoned as-is, but instead amend the bylaw to allow for discretionary uses including dwellings. Council heeded staff’s recommendation, as there are already seven different buildings zoned with similar discretionary uses and precedent exists.

The bylaw passed on Jan. 19 will be left as-is, council was told by CAO Greg Switenky. After two years of no action on the first reading of the bylaw, the bylaw amendment action will be voided.