Drumheller Town council were presented with the preliminary 2024 Capital budget and 10-year Capital plan during the Tuesday, November 14 Committee of the Whole meeting.
The draft budget proposes a total of 43 projects which total $10.71 million, and also includes an estimated $7 million in projects previously approved by council in 2023 which are anticipated to be carried forward in the new year. It is anticipated about $1 million of this will be funded through provincial and federal capital grants.
Corporate and Community Services director Victoria Chan explained the Town of Drumheller has currently accumulated some $29.5 million in its municipal reserves as of the end of 2022 through “responsible spending and consistent contributions to reserves.”
While Ms. Chan noted the entirety of proposed Capital projects could be supported through a draw from the municipal reserve, it was recommended to cap the Capital requests at $5 million, which will be funded through a combination of general taxation revenue and draws from reserve. It is projected this could increase the municipal tax rate by about three per cent.
Among the proposed 2024 Capital projects include several Downtown Area Revitalization Plan (DARP) projects to beautify and connect the downtown core. This includes a $200,000 connector road between Highway 56/South Railway Avenue and Railway Avenue East via 2 Street East and 6 Avenue near Freson Bros., a $100,000 beautification to update Centre Street between 3 Avenue to Railway Avenue which includes upgrades to the intersection and sidewalks, landscaping, furnishings and third-party utilities in the area, and construction of a $210,000 Main Station as part of the CN Rails to Trails project and could be completed in conjunction with the new connector road.
Proposed projects also include improvements to the Badlands Community Facility to install sound acoustics in the field house to allow for expanded event usage, estimated at $90,000; $600,000 for the proposed 2024 Street Improvement Program which will see multiple roadways throughout the North Midland and Greentree neighbourhoods resurfaced, as well as $100,000 for engineering and design work for the 2025 Street Improvement Program; and replacement of fuel tanks at the Drumheller Municipal Airport to increase storage capacity and mitigate potential leaks and other environmental hazards as the existing tanks reach end of operating life, estimated at $430,356 which includes materials and supplies, engineering, and contracted services.
It is expected the 2024 Capital budget will be brought back for council consideration and adoption later in the year.