Road projects and reserve building drove Highlands East capital forecast upwards, which projected the municipality will spend over $965,000 more in capital projects in 2019.
Highlands East council reviewed the forecast during a special meeting Jan. 9. The forecast projected a significant increase in capital expenditures in the municipality in 2019, with every department except environmental expecting an increase in its capital budget.
Chief administrative officer and treasurer Shannon Hunter said the municipality’s asset management plan is apart of the increase, with departments reserving money for future asset needs.
“This is just a draft document, but it is fairly realistic,” Hunter said during the meeting.
Nearly half of the capital forecast increase is coming from the roads department, with an over $429,000 increase projected for roads capital expenditures.
A significant portion of the projected $1,721,101.97 roads budget has been allotted to repair work at Cardiff. A total of $544,207 has been budgeted for phase 2 of the project. Another $243,207 has been
allotted to the completion of 2018 work, but Hunter said that was carried forward from last year’s budget.
“I’m just not 100 per cent sure where the money is going to come from, $550,000,” Mayor Dave Burton said about the project. “But I would like to see it done.”
Hunter said the Cardiff roads project in total was presented from the beginning as costing about $1 million, but council opted to split it up across multiple budget years.
Coun. Cam McKenzie said the project should be completed.
“We decided we’re going ahead with it. People have kind of accepted it now,” McKenzie said. “If we have the funds, let’s get it done, once and for all.”
Deputy mayor Cec Ryall said the long life cycle of the new roads helps make the project worthwhile.
“You can’t do it half done. That’s not an option,” he said. Council did not make any specific motions regarding the forecast during the meeting.
Hunter said she expects the full draft budget would be delayed until March.
“Draft budget will not come as quickly as what you’ve been accustomed to,” Hunter said. “Have a feeling this year our budgeting will be a long process.”