Whitehorse city council took the opportunity to showcase its proposed 2018-2021 capital budget Nov. 14.
The proposed budget is heavy on infrastructure funding with $30 million set aside for “crucial” projects, Mayor Dan Curtis said.
The city’s “top priority” is getting the new operations building built. That project is slated to cost $55 million over the next three years, $23 million of which will come from the federal government through the gas tax fund.
“The relocation and consolidation of nine downtown buildings (to the new operations building) will help us become more efficient in offering services to Whitehorse residents, and will free up prime real estate in downtown and industrial areas,” Curtis said.
The budget sets aside $1.5 million to replace aging maintenance equipment, such as loaders and graders, and $900,000 to replace a 21-year-old fire rescue vehicle.
The city will also spend $260,000 in 2018 on an environmental assessment for the “dismantling, demolitions and cleaning-up” of the municipal services building on Fourth Avenue, and fire hall #1, located next to city hall.
There’s also $370,000 going to improve parks, trails and playgrounds in the city, including $65,000 for playground equipment upgrades in Cowley Creek and Hidden Valley.
“We’ve seen an unprecedented amount of infrastructure dollars from the federal government,” Curtis said.
The proposed budget also includes a list of projects which are awaiting approval from gas tax and other outside funding sources, including “major bus repairs,” more transit shelters, landfill upgrades and a software replacement for fire and bylaw services dispatch.
Curtis said he was “proud” of the proposed budget.
“We have always strived to face challenges head on, no matter how daunting,” he said.
“Adopting a city budget is never easy, as resident and taxpayer expectations continue to rise. Mayor and council must make decisions that are in the best interest of the entire community.”
The present 2014-2017 capital budget is in its final year and “the city is working hard,” to have the new capital budget in place “by the end of this year,” Curtis said.
The budget will receive a public hearing on Nov. 27, with a final vote scheduled for Dec. 11.
Contact Lori Fox at email@example.com