Municipality does little chopping of high-priority projects
By Liz Dadson
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Kincardine council perused the high-priority projects in its capital budget and okayed them all except one, during budget talks Monday night (Jan. 20).
The one item that was scrapped was a new microphone system for the council chamber, at a cost of $7,500.
In committee-of-the-whole, councillor Jacqueline Faubert put forward a motion to remove the microphone system from the list of capital projects, and it was approved.
Chief administrative officer Murray Clarke cautioned council that the current system is obsolete and parts are becoming scarce.
The following projects remain in the budget:
During discussion of these projects, councillor Mike Leggett put forward a motion to defer the repairs to the municipal administrative centre until a real estate assessment is done on the building, and council considers other options.
"We need more information," he said. "We could make just minor repairs for now."
That motion was seconded by councillor Randy Roppel.
Leggett said repairs to the heating and cooling system at the building are needed right away but the remainder of the $1.5-million in repairs should wait until further discussion of other options is complete.
"The bottom line is, are we re-locating?" asked councillor Kenneth Craig.
"If it's more cost-effective in the long-term, absolutely," said Leggett. "The expenses to operate this place are huge, and the expenses to repair it are huge. Plus, it's far larger than what we need, in my opinion."
"I would be shocked if you could find another building that would meet our needs," said mayor Larry Kraemer, "but I'm not ready to spend $1.5-million on repairs either."
Councillor Maureen Couture agreed, saying council would likely not find anything cheaper than $1.5-million. A new municipal hall would cost about $5-million, she said, and currently, the municipality receives $90,000/year in rental revenue from the upstairs of the municipal administrative centre.
Leggett emphasized looking at options, such as adding on to one of the buildings currently being considered for renovation, or building a new arts centre with a municipal centre attached to it.
"That seniors' centre at the Davidson Centre started out at $300,000, but in the end, it cost $2-million," said Kraemer. "How in-depth do you want to go? Are we acquiring land?"
"I said nothing about acquiring land," said Leggett. "There's land, lots of it. We have 20 acres right here."
His motion was defeated.
In his report, Clarke said there are two options for repairs to the municipal hall.
Option A costs $1.282-million and includes:
Option B costs $1.449-million and includes all of the above, plus:
Clarke noted that, based on a 10-year loan, annual debt repayment costs would range from $75,000 to $85,000 per year, depending on the option selected.
He stressed the most important issues are the heating and cooling system, and sealing up the skin of the building to prevent further water infiltration.
"The repairs would extend the life of this building indefinitely," said Clarke. "It's a wonderful building. It's practical and serves your purpose. I recommend you invest in the repairs and fix what you've got."
As discussion turned to other capital projects and initiatives, council noted there is a need for more information, particularly what is remaining in several ward-specific reserve funds, such as the Ward 1 industrial reserve.
Couture suggested using that reserve to support the Kincardine Lions Club's Splash Pad, but treasurer Roxana Baumann was unsure about the actual totals for all reserve funds at this point.
She said some of the high-priority capital projects were already funded from the Ward 1 equipment reserve fund.
Kraemer suggested leaving the budget for now, and allow staff to recalculate the numbers and bring forward figures for the reserve funds to a future budget meeting, either Feb. 3 or Feb. 18.
Other capital projects and initiatives include:
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Tuesday, January 21, 2014