By Landin Chambers The Stettler Independent
Town of Stettler councillors approved their 2018 capital budget in the amount of $6,110,582.21 during their February 6th meeting.
Council met on January 30th, and voted to go with administration’s recommendation after meeting a few days earlier for a strategy session ahead of the budget deliberations.
Mayor Sean Nolls said of the process, “Capital Budget is one of those really important meetings where we can go over all of the upcoming projects, and give council, especially new councillors, a chance to look over the process that administration goes through. Administration and staff do such a good job of making the process transparent as possible. We’re not the experts when it comes to number crunching, we’re elected officials here to guide policy.”
Mayor Nolls also spoke about the importance of putting money away for future purchases. “We’re always planning for the future. We’re putting money away for the fire truck, knowing what the age of the fire truck is, and when we need to retire it, so that when that time comes, we don’t have to grab that money from somewhere else to pay for it.”
Looking to other projects this year, Mayor Nolls said, “The pathway system is one (project) that council has been passionate about. At the SRC, we’re also looking at upgrading the sound system and the LED lighting. We’ve been looking to other arenas to see what they’ve done.”
Listed below are the capital items and projects that the Town of Stettler will fund in 2018. Some items include carry forward funding from 2017, while unspent funding from this year will be considered as 2018 carry forward funding.
Note that the dollar amounts listed are estimated budget costs. Actual costs may be lower or higher than budgeted.
Projects costing over $25,000 will be brought back for final approval, as per council policy.
Water and Sewer ($1,660,000)
51st Ave Water and Sewer (59-61 street) – $820,000 – The two blocks located on the west end of 51st avenue are set for water and sewer utility upgrades in 2018. This will be similar work to that which was done on 51st ave from 57th street west to 59th street in 2017. Alta. Gas is scheduled to begin prep work from May to June, then town crews are set to take over from June to September. Once this is complete, asphalt, curb and sidewalk improvements are planned for the 2019 construction season. If federal and provincial grants all come through, this would be funded with $164,216 from M.S.I, $310,904 from the Federal Gas Tax, and $344,880 from the Basic Municipal Transportation Grant.
Lagoon De-sludging Cells A, B, C, D – $350,000 – Stettler’s lagoon system is made up of nine cells that bear the brunt of the town’s sewage. The oldest cells, known as cells A, B, C & D were built in 1960. This work is expected to be covered by a $350,000 portion of M.S.I funding from the Alberta Government.
Water-main Looping along 50th Ave Service Road across Hwy 56 – $200,000 – This project will see a waterline installed on the north side of Highway 56 on the west end of Stettler. Homes west of the Western Canada Lottery Corporation are not connected to the Town’s water system, other than the homes along 70th street. The plan is to hook up the new line to the town’s water main so that fire hydrants can eventually be placed in the area for fire protection.
Armour Banks of Lagoon Cells 7, 8, 9 – $125,000 – In addition to the de-sludging set to happen in lagoon cells A, B, C and D, prep work is scheduled on lagoon cells 7, 8 and 9 in the 2018 capital budget. This funding would be used to armour the banks of the larger lagoons located west of Stettler.
New Sewer Dump – $115,000 – Stettler’s commercial sewer dump was located behind the curling club, and was closed down after a complaints of sewage smells by residents in the area. A new location needs to be found, with a possibility of placing it out by the lagoons. Town crews are currently dumping at Red Willow with the county’s permission.
Water Reservoir Exterior and Insulation – $50,000 – Stettler’s water reservoir is in need of maintenance in order to improve it’s efficiency. Currently, water levels must be adjusted throughout the year to ensure proper circulation. Staff have noticed that some of the insulation is fading in the cold weather, and are looking at possible spray-on exterior that could alleviate these issues.
51st Ave Cement and Paving – (57-59 Street) – $765,000 – Utility improvements were done on the eastern end of 51st ave during the 2017 construction season. This funding is to be used for the asphalt, curb and sidewalk improvements to bring the road back up to standard. The work done last year was to replace the cast iron water mains that have deteriorated. The underground improvements had to be completed a year ahead of road work to allow the trenches to settle. This will be the main item the Town channels their projected M.S.I funding into in 2018, if the province funds the full $765,000 amount in the spring budget.
Backhoe – $170,000 – The Town will look to purchase a new backhoe this year using this funding. The plan is to then sell the two existing JCB backhoes as council was told that parts have become hard to find for them.
Pavement Patching – $90,000 – This is funding set aside each year to be used to make repairs to the pavement around Stettler. The 2017 Capital Budget did not allocate any funds to pavement patching. In 2018, there are larger paving projects that require larger contracted equipment such as repairs to 70th street at the UFA and Walmart intersection.
Storm Management (Drainage – 51 Ave-61 St) – $75,000 – With both the utility improvements and road improvements set for areas of 51st Ave this year, drainage work will also need to be done on the west end of the road where it connects to 61st street. Water has been known to accumulate in this area, which is damaging the asphalt and sidewalks. The Town plans to use a $75,000 portion of their M.S.I grant from the province to fund.
Asphalt Roller Trailer – $20,000 – Town staff have requested funding to purchase a trailer to haul their asphalt roller on. This cost is expected to be covered by the Federal Gas Tax.
Tamper for Excavator – $17,500 – An excavator tamper is also listed on the 2018 Capital Budget so that the machinery can be used to backfill trenches. This cost is also expected to be covered through the Federal Gas Tax.
Hydro-Vac Camera – $15,000 – A camera for the hydro-vac has been requested so that town crews can use it to inspect sewers around Stettler.
Traffic Line Painter – $12,500 – A new traffic line painter has also been requested, so that the old one could be used to paint soccer lines on the fields.
Christmas Decorations – $12,000 – This funding would be used to replace some of the hanging decorations seen on the lights on Main Street. The old decorations will then be donated to the Town and County Museum.
Cemetery Road Guard Rail – $6,500 – The narrow roadway on the way to the Stettler Cemetery is considered quite steep. This funding will be used to install a guard rail just before the cemetery.
Land Development ($1,000,000)
Emmerson Subdivision – $1,000,000 – This is being put aside to begin servicing work on the eventual Emmerson development in north Stettler along 55th ave. Nine lots are to be zoned on the north side of the street, with seven along the south side. Sewer, water and gas utilities need to be installed, with the hope of having the homes built and sold there in the next five years.
Council also spoke of a proposed private development directly to the east. This would also have to be serviced with utilities if approved in the future, as the developer has until the end of March to commit to a development agreement.
Water Treatment Plant ($655,000)
Four projects are listed under the Stettler Water Treatment Plant budget. The first is a membrane test, which will look at the lifespan of the membranes that help filter water within the treatment plant.
Funding has also been set aside for work to the distribution line valve, safety supplies and dredging the waste pond.
Stettler Recreation Centre ($567,582)
LED Lights, Ceiling – $375,936 – This funding will be used to upgrade lights at the SRC to LED lighting. Of this, $193,822 is expected to be covered by the province’s new TAME grant that is being awarded to projects that improve energy efficiency. The Ponoka Culture and Recreation Centre recently upgraded their facility using provincial funding to install LED lighting.
REALice System – $46,000 – This machine would upgrade the ice-making facilities at the SRC by using less hot water to make the ice. It’s also said to remove nano-bubbles from the ice, according to staff who have heard good reviews of the product from their Camrose and Innisfail counterparts.
Tech Update for the SRC – $45,000 – This would be used to upgrade the sound systems in both the Red and Blue arenas, as well as the Hub and Studio rooms at the SRC. Staff are also looking at purchasing a phone charging station and blinds for the studio room.
More coverage of the town’s budget deliberations will be continued in the Feb. 22 edition of The Stettler Independent.