By Trevor Busch
The Town of Vauxhall will be spending close to $800,000 on capital projects throughout 2017, including expensive repairs to the arena ice plant.
Total capital spending in Vauxhall has been pegged at $795,500. The town is showing a balance of $1,165,385, reserves of $592,500, and grants of $438,884.
Under Roads In 2017, $16,000 has been allocated for a gravel box, a further $16,500 for a plow blade, and large capital rollout of $120,000 for paving 7th Avenue.
“As far as I remember, that’s from the end of current pavement to the end of the street, not just 7th to 9th,” said CAO Cris Burns during a special budget meeting of town council on March 15.
Under Subdivision in 2017, $130,000 has also been set aside for paving 4th Street. For Recreation, $8,000 has been earmarked for a new floor scrubber.
“We need a new floor scrubber for the hall,” said CFO Wendy Bergen.
With extensive repair and rehabilitation needed to bring the town’s arena back up to an operational status following the recent implosion of the chiller, some $380,000 is being set aside for the arena ice plant.
“Eighty thousand is the chiller, another $90,000 is the condenser outside, and then the headers,” said Burns, citing estimates the town has received. “Now that everything’s cropped up we’ve got ammonia through the system, which is more corrosive, so the headers are probably compromised. They’re old enough anyway.”
Bergen noted the town has reserves to cover some of the cost of the repairs, but they won’t cover everything.
“We do have $255,000 in reserves between the arena and the curling rink, so the rest would have to be from MSI (Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding).”
Coun. Richard Phillips questioned whether the Municipal District of Taber might be compelled to contribute to the cost of the repairs due to a significant number of town recreation users residing outside the boundaries of the town, therefore not contributing directly to offsetting the town’s costs.
“The M.D. clearly recognizes that there’s heavy usage of the recreation facilities by M.D. residents. I don’t know if we’ve ever figured out what the exact split would be, but it’s a very significant portion of usage. So when there’s an unexpected major capital expenditure to keep the recreation facility going — that’s used by both by both town and M.D. — is there any potential to ask our good neighbours in the M.D. to perhaps consider helping us with this?”
Burns indicated the request could be made following a resolution by town council, but he didn’t speculate on the potential success of such an effort should it be made.
A key area of current friction between the M.D. of Taber and Vauxhall’s neighbouring municipality, the Town of Taber, Phillips suggested the M.D. should be paying “their share” of recreational costs based on varying rates of municipal usership.
“They shouldn’t pay more than their share, but at the same time it would be nice (if we could get some help). It’s certainly not just town residents that are enjoying the ice over there. It just seems like it wouldn’t hurt to come up with a good idea of what would be a fair split.”
For Parks, aging playground equipment is set to be replaced at a cost of $25,000. For Landfill, the town is rolling out $100,000 for a loader.
“Last year we had a loader and a skid-steer in for replacement at the landfill,” said Bergen. “After discussion with Cris (Burns, CAO), he opted to remove the skid-steer and lower the cost of a loader. They feel that one piece of equipment would be enough out there.”
At their March 15 special budget meeting, town council voted unanimously (5-0) to approve the 2017 capital budget. Coun.(s) Kimberly Cawley and Marilyn Forchuk were absent from the meeting.