Lacombe city council has approved nearly $9.2 million in capital spending next year as part of its $80 million 10-year capital plan.
One of the 2024 big ticket items is $2.25 million to go towards a new $5 million fire hall. In 2023, $500,000 was spent on the project and another $2.25 million will go towards it in 2025.
Another $500,000 is earmarked next year for a new $2 million fire ladder truck. About $500,000 was spent in 2023, leaving $1.3 million to fund in 2025. Also, $450,000 will be spent next year towards a $1 million fire engine.
Other projects include $850,000 for the 49C Redevelopment, which will see a pedestrian-friendly gathering place created downtown, $300,000 to replace two playgrounds and $200,000 in upgrades to the busy Highway 12 and 2A intersection.
The city expects to spend $16.2 million on road upgrades over the next 10 years and $11.7 million will be spent from 2025 to 2029 on a new pump house.
“The 2024-2033 Capital Plan reflects council’s vision and commitment to providing quality services and infrastructure to the residents of Lacombe,” said Mayor Grant Creasey. “The plan is a strategic document that helps guide our decision-making and ensures we are prepared for the future needs and opportunities of our community.”
Coun. Don Gullekson questioned whether it was worth spending more money on city hall renovations. Nearly $750,000 has been spent so far with another $140,000 to come from the capital budget and $100,000 from the operating budget after bids came in higher than projected.
“That’s a hard one for me,” said Gullekson. “I mean I look at the building. I’m not sure we should be doing that.”
Gullekson asked if there had been any discussion about how to avoid the renovation and move more staff to a new operations building.
Mayor Grant Creasey said he also has struggled with the timing of the city hall renovation project when work just got underway earlier this year on a $10.8 million operations facility. Construction is slated for completion later in 2024.
“I just wonder if we aren’t getting a little too aggressive on the timing of this one. Perhaps we should wait until after that building has been implemented.”
Creasey said with a new building coming on line the city’s information technology staff will be stretched.
“I just think it’s too much too fast for extremely marginal gain.”
Council voted to approve next year’s capital budget and defer the $240,000 in city hall renovations to 2025 budget talks.
The 10-year capital plan is updated every year during the annual budget process. It is proposed that the plan will be paid for with $45 million out of reserves, $22.2 million from grants, $8.6 million from borrowing and $4.1 million from outside sources.