City of Charlottetown passes $12.4 million capital budget
The City of Charlottetown town passed a $12.4 million capital budget which included new crime fighting technology, detox equipment, amongst other things necessary to facilitate progress in the city. On Monday night, March 12, the City council passed the capital budget at its regular public monthly meeting with the annual operational budget set to be released sometime next week. The city has a $14.3 million capital budget last year, but only $7.1 million out of it was spent.
“The operational budget is the day-to-day workings of the city, and the capital budget deals with new infrastructure, new equipment, street paving, ditch infilling, new purchases or new services,’’ said Coun. Melissa Hilton, chairwoman of the city’s finance committee.
In the list of purchases, the city police are being equipped with a new laser data-capture system that cost $105,000.
Hilton said she understood the relevance of the purchase as the technology allows police officers to see what’s happening inside a building before entering the structure.
However, Brad MacConnell, Deputy Police Chief, said there's a lot more to the technology, explaining that it is a cutting-edge crime scene/accident capture and reconstruction technology.
In addition to the $26,328 allocated for a detox sauna, the city will also spend $165,000 on design plans for the new fire station it plans on locating in the West Royalty area.
“They go to fires and there could be chemicals burning,’’ Hilton said. “This is a sauna they can go in where they can detoxify and get rid of any toxins that they may have been exposed to by fighting the fire.’’
For a cost of $225,000, Station 1 on Kent Street would be getting a door replacement. Also, there’s a capital budget of $200,000 for new playground equipment and park development.
New lights would be installed at the Memorial Field at a cost of $100,000, while Queen Elizabeth Park and Hillsborough Park are currently undergoing some rehabilitation on their tennis courts at a combined cost of $170,000. In addition, $190,000 would be spent on replacing the boardwalk behind the Friendly Pharmacy.
Under community sustainability, a light upgrade at a cost of $100,000 will be done at the Pownal Parkade.
The capital budget also includes $600,000 for upgrades to traffic and pedestrian signals.
While under public works, there’s an allocation of $1.5 million for new sidewalk snowplough gear and money to replace faulty vehicles.
“These sidewalk snowplows are actually going to have other attachments that can be used year-round and not just during snow season,’’ Hilton said.
Also, public works would be allocated $3 million to cover its street resurfacing and rehabilitation cost.
“People will be very happy to see that because at this time of year we all know the roads break down with the frost and heaving,’’ said Hilton.
Include in the capital budget is $1.4 million for the purchase of the property at the corner of Prince and Water streets, currently being used as an outdoor skating rink. The city plans to purchase the land and preserve it as a green space, however, Hilton is opposed to the idea of the purchase.
There’s also $150,000 in the budget for the acquisition of the house and property at the corner of Queen and Pond streets. The house is being taken down in a bid to improve sight lines for traffic along the road. However, the capital budget is missing a particular project that has been long-talked-about, which is the roundabout for the Vogue Optical intersection in Sherwood. The city is still awaiting the federal government program which should be enough to fund the project.
The Water and Sewer Utility, which operates under a $32 million capital budget, would get an allocation of $7.8 million from the city, courtesy of the joint funding and the federal gas tax program.
Out of the money, $1.2 million would be spent on the new Miltonvale water source and upgrades to the Winter River wellfield. In total, $5.3 million will be spent on improvements and upgrades to the Charlottetown wastewater plant. This would enable the city to receive waste from Stratford and also for decommissioning the lagoon in East Royalty.