City of Quesnel approves 2019 capital budget

Largest project is the Public Works facility replacement at $10.957 milion

The biggest capital project in Quesnel this year will be the replacement of the City’s Public Works facility.

The project, at a cost of $10.975 million, is the largest project in the City’s 2019 capital budget, which council approved Feb. 5. The project is being funded by debt and the City’s capital reinvestment reserve, Kari Bolton, the City’s director of corporate and financial services, explained to council at the Feb. 5 council meeting.

The approved capital budget for 2019 is $21,621,361.

The budget is based on grants of $5 million for 2019 — the largest being $3.8 million for the Two Mile Flat water main — with the rest of the funding coming from reserves, utility fees and taxation, explained Bolton.

Along with approving the capital budget, council also directed staff to move forward with building the Five-Year Financial Plan Bylaw with the capital projects and funding sources proposed over the five years.

There are no major road work projects in the 2019 capital budget.

“The [Financial Sustainability and Audit Committee (FSAC)] has reviewed the capital budget in detail and has recommended it to council for approval,” said Bolton. “You’ll note if you look at the plan that we don’t have any major road projects this year. The FSAC Committee felt this year should be more of a maintenance year, so we’ve doubled the overlay and the sidewalk work we’re going to do this year to focus on maintenance this year.”

In her report to council, Bolton explained the 2019 capital budget is balanced.

“Projects started but not completed in 2018 will be carried forward and added to the capital budget before the five-year financial bylaw is completed,” she wrote.

According to Bolton, the City’s equipment reserve fund is depleted in this plan, so two pieces of equipment are shown being purchased with the Municipal Finance Authority of B.C. equipment financing program.

A few projects are currently under review and may come back to council in 2019 for review or discussion for 2020, according to Bolton. This includes the replacement of the trail up to Sugarloaf, potential repairs to the Johnston Street Bridge and work on the Landfill Lateral Expansion and other recommendations expected from the Strategic Landfill/Recycling Review.

Coun. Ron Paull questioned the proposed expenditure of $70,000 for garbage cans on the Riverfront Trail.

“These garbage cans would be the same cans you find on Reid Street, and they’re approximately $2,000 each, so you would be looking at about 35 cans,” said Chris Coben, the City’s director of infrastructure and capital works. “This would replace a lot of the wooden ones that are high-maintenance.”