By Cole Parkinson
While several paving projects were put on hold with funds going towards flooding repairs, the Municipal District of Taber now plans to move forward with them thanks to MSI allocation.
With $1.6 million in incurred costs, the M.D. originally had to postpone the roadway improvements in Grassy Lake and Hays.
The reason for the delay was due to impending word on assistance from the Disaster Recovery Program, which still doesn’t have an exact date when they will be available.
“We had made a decision earlier on to hold off on our paving projects because we didn’t know what was going to go on with disaster funding. A couple things have changed there,” said Reeve Brian Brewin at council’s regular meeting on July 17.
On July 6, the M.D. received their 2018/19 MSI allocation in the amount of $3,976,154. The cheque broke down to $2,047,879 for 2018 capital from 2017/18 MSI grant supplement, $164,459 for 2018 operating, $1,116,025 for 2018 capital, $647,791 for Basic Municipal Transportation Grant from 2018/19 MSI Grant.
The 2018/19 MSI Grant was reduced to $1,928,275 from the past year’s $3,006,675.
“Essentially what happened was, we got our MSI funds brought forward to us. The total amount we received was approximately $3.8 million in capital funding and that’s broken down into our MSI annual amount of $1.928 million which is now down from $3 million which we used to previously get annually,” stated Brian Badura, director of corporate services.
The supplemental funds will also see a reduction in the coming years, according to staff after discussions with an advisor with Municipal Affairs, though there is no official word on what amount they will receive moving forward.
With that being said, MSI grants for next year are anticipated to remain at $1,928,275. Now, the M.D. has six projects that will look to move forward in the near future.
“I’ve applied for four capital projects already but the other two projects we have on the list which were the Grassy Lake 1st Street North paving as well as the Hays paving project. Those two projects, we had an estimate of $1.6 million and our renewed estimate came in at $1.37 million plus engineering, plus contingency. In talking with Jack (Dunsmore, director of planning and infrastructure), he indicated that it should come in similar, we won’t know for sure until the tenders come back,” continued Badura.
The other four projects include local roads gravelling, a drainage project, M.D. park walking trail and emergency generators project which have been submitted under the MSI Operating and Capital Grant Program for totals of $647,917, $258,000, $300,000 and $300,000, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Grassy Lake 1st Street North paving and Hamlet of Hays have not been submitted yet.
“I’m estimating after our projects this year, we will have about $721,000 left in our MSI fund. With the expectation that next year, we would get another $1.9 million which leaves about $2.6 million of available funding for next year,” said Badura.
With construction looking to possibly start in late summer, council had questions about when the best time would be to move forward with the two projects. Thoughts were that springtime would be the best as summer schedules wouldn’t be fully booked yet.
“That’s what I’ve heard, springtime is the best time to tender,” said Deputy Reeve Merrill Harris.
Staff though believed sooner would be just as good as no real big projects are going on in southern Alberta at the moment.
“It all depends on what’s happening in the industry. If there is a lot of paving around, then you are better to wait to tender next spring. Talking to an engineer, he said there is not a whole lot going on right now but you also have the option of putting it out for tender, if the prices come back in too high, you can re-tender next spring,” replied Dunsmore. “Typically springtime is best, actually February or so is a good time to put tenders out because the paving contractors don’t have their schedule ready. I’m not aware of any really big paving projects in southern Alberta, so you have two options.”
An added bonus for council was the tender was already completed and ready to be put in place whenever they decided to move forward.
“The tender document is ready to go out whenever you want to send it. It’s not like you have to do three, four weeks of work, it’s ready to go,” added Dunsmore.
A motion was made to move forward with both paving projects and was passed unanimously by council.