Sexsmith council accepted a five-year capital budget for 2020 to 2024 during its regular meeting Monday.
The budget sets out plans for capital projects over five years, totalling $6.4 million and including $3.2 million for street improvements.
Mayor Kate Potter said municipalities are required under the Municipal Government Act to submit five-year budgets to the province by the end of the year.
“It’s a really good policy to have so that municipalities are thinking about their long-term needs and are able to budget for those needs,” she said.
The provincial policy encourages municipalities to prepare for inevitable costs such as facility upgrades and replacements, she said.
Potter noted the five-year plan isn’t set in stone, and Sexsmith is currently conducting asset management to determine the life expectancy of its buildings.
Council may update the plan in December or January to reflect what new information about town facilities come to light, she said.
“It’s always a work in progress, and sometimes things happen unexpectedly,” Potter said.
The five-year capital budget has been discussed during council’s capital planning meetings, according to administration.
Street improvements make up a sizable portion of the capital plan, with much of the work to be funded by Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) and gas tax funding.
Specific road projects in the future are to be determined, according to the plan.
This year’s projects include widening 99th Ave., an overlay on 105th St. and sidewalk work on 100th St.
In addition to $764,435 budgeted for 2020, street improvements are budgeted at $600,000 annually from 2021 to 2023.
The five-year capital budget for public works totals $4.7 million, including the street improvements, $366,666 for truck upgrades and $645264 for equipment.
Another $100,001 is budgeted for upgrades for the bathrooms and shower building at Heritage Park, including $31,604 in 2020 and $68,397 in 2021.
Potter said the shower and bathroom facility is nearing the end of its useful life and work there may start in 2022.
The Sexsmith Fire Department’s five-year capital plan totals $968,253, drawing from reserves and MSI.
The town is adding $70,000 annually to a reserve for new fire vehicles, with $75,000 in 2020 that went to purchasing a $233,178 rescue truck.
Another $50,000 will be placed in a reserve annually for capital equipment, totalling $250,000 over five years.
The town is saving this money for when it’s needed, with a new fire engine expected to become necessary in roughly the next five years, Potter said.
The five-year plan also includes $511,581 for town facilities, namely the civic centre, curling rink, arena and medical clinic.
The arena may see upgrades in 2021 including to the ice plant for $200,000, the hot water tank for $8,000 and replacement of the interior doors for $10,000.
The arena’s ice plant and tank are aging and while they are still functioning, Potter said the town is preparing for a possible scenario where they need to be replaced.
In 2021 the town will fund the medical clinic’s upgrade to its LED lights for $12,933.
Administration’s 2020-24 capital budget totals $235,150, including $25,700 in 2020 for the Diamond Virtual City Hall.
The virtual city hall will allow online payment processing linking directly to the town’s accounting software, Rachel Wueschner, chief administrative officer, told the News in July.
Previously, online tax payments of taxes could only be made through some financial institutions.
Under the virtual city hall fire permits and dog licence permits can be made online and assessments can be viewed online, Trena Huson, Sexsmith’s administrative supervisor, told the News in July.
On Monday Coun. Clint. Froehlick’s motion to accept the five-year budget was carried unopposed.with all councillors in attendance.
Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News