By Stan Ashbee
Alberta Newspaper Group
Town of Bow Island council passed both the 2020 Capital and Operating Budgets at a meeting held last week. There will be no changes to the mill rate, according to Mayor Gordon Reynolds.
“Holding the tax levels where they’re at. Our Operating Budget is about $4 million and this year the Capital Budget will come in at $2.9 million. There’s a lot of talk everywhere about cuts and so on and we worked our way around some of those provincial cuts and worked our way around some of those things,” Reynolds noted.
With the Capital Budget, Reynolds explained, the town will be utilizing grant money earmarked for certain things. “We are also using some reserves, as we normally do. We’ll get as much as we can done now because we are, like all municipalities, concerned about what’s coming down the road here, as far as provincial funding.”
In 2020, capital expenditures will include an equipment replacement, paving of areas in town impacted in the past by water breaks and work will be completed on a street that was a lane way between 9th and 10th Avenues.
“There is a very significant grant from the province to redo the runway and lighting at the airport. We put that over from last year to this year. That will be going ahead,” Reynolds added.
Water meter replacement will also be in the works in 2020. “We are going to update any water meter in town not currently a remote read type of meter. This will replace, in some cases, some really old meters that are probably not really efficient. The big thing though is it will make meter reading much quicker and it will save us quite a bit of money,” said Reynolds. “Quite a few of the meters in town have already been updated, but we decided to finish that project up this year.”
On the equipment side, Reynolds noted, council is looking to replace the town’s garbage truck. “We have signed contracts with a couple of other communities to haul their waste for them.”
“It’s time to upgrade and make sure we’ve got something newer and more reliable,” Reynolds said, adding the town’s current garbage truck is older and has high mileage.
Some significant water and sewer work will also be on tap for 2020, according to the mayor. “Replacement, just west of the downtown core. An area where we’ve had trouble with pipe and valves. We need to do a lot of water and sewer replacement and we have to start somewhere. We had some significant problems in this area the last couple of years, so we’re proceeding there.”
Reynolds said about $45,000 will be spent on sidewalk replacements in 2020 in Bow Island.
According to Reynolds, council is utilizing some other grant money for a new cover for the town’s pool. “And we will have to replace the boiler. That’s already on its way and will hopefully be in service for the spring.”
On the operation side, Reynolds said, some changes have been made in the way town operations will go about a few things. “We’ve not had to shave too much out of the way we do things. We’re not really changing service levels very much.”
Utility garbage and sewer rates, Reynolds said, are staying the same. “We have increased the water rate based on an increase we’ve received from the water commission. We are increasing recycling.”
“We feel we’re able to do this this year without changing the mill rate. Depending on what happens to an individual’s assessment, they may not see a tax increase – or in some cases – an assessment has gone down,” the mayor added.
Council also approved a fundraising effort by a charity golf classic to raise funds for a splash park in the community. “That will be kicking off shortly and culminating with their golf tournament,” Reynolds said, which will be in June. There will be more announcements about the fundraiser and a committee has been organized. “Two years ago they did a very successful fundraiser for the solarium to the library and improvements to the seniors’ lodge.”
Reynolds added the project will be known as the Kale Porteous Memorial Splash Park, named after a young local boy who was killed in an accident.