Lacombe city council approved the 2021 capital budget and the ten-year capital plan at a regular council meeting on Nov. 9, 2020. This photo is a screenshot of the live stream council meeting. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)

Lacombe city council approved the 2021 capital budget and the ten-year capital plan at a regular council meeting on Nov. 9, 2020. This photo is a screenshot of the live stream council meeting. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)

Lacombe City Council approves 2021 Budget and 10-year capital plan ahead of schedule

The budget outlines 35 projects including important infrastructure upgrades

The 2021 capital budget and ten-year capital plan was adopted on Nov. 9, which is the earliest a budget has passed in the city’s history.

Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Lacombe Matthew Goudy said this is thanks to the hard work of city administration staff.

“Not to toot our own horn but it was the best year ever for us in terms of timing,” said Goudy.

The budget outlines the money the city has been authorized to spend on various projects. The ten-year capital plan, which was approved at the same time, serves as a blueprint for what the city wants to accomplish between 2021-2030.

The 35 projects outlined in the 2021 capital budget are distributed among four service areas and total $9.94 million. This includes $0.15 million to the Lacombe Police Service, $0.52 million for corporate services, $8.83 million for operation and planning services and $0.44 for community services.

The largest portion of the budget will be distributed to operation and planning services which will cover a wide variety of infrastructure upgrades.

Upgrades include several improvements to highway 12, downtown roadway updates and many equipment upgrades.

The city also intends to build a new public works building for $4 million beginning in 2021.

Funding for the 2021 capital budget will come from several sources including grants, reverse fund withdraws, new debt and other sources like donations or loans from city partners.

The 2021-2030 capital plan outlines future capital projects the city would like to see implemented over the next ten years. In addition, it also identifies potential funding sources.

“With a plan like that, if you look out one year and even years two and three it’s fairly certain of what your expenditures will be,” said Goudy.

“Once you get into years five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten, it’s really a planning tool, more than a schedule of projects because things will change over time.”

Some notable projects outlined in the plan are the new public works building, C&E Trail upgrades, a new fire hall building, the replacement of tower one aerial truck and upgrades to the reservoir of Pumphouse B.

Both the budget and the plan are based on a two per cent municipal growth rate, which Goudy thinks the city will meet despite economic challenges.

The global pandemic along with Alberta’s economic landscape created challenges for council when creating the budget. However, despite the challenges Goudy said the city is looking good going into 2021.

“We’re in a pretty good spot coming into 2021 but I , like everyone, am hopeful to see a return to normal sooner than later,” said Goudy.

“Unfortunately for Alberta, the return to normal still has quite a few issues to tackle.”

The ten-year plan will continue to be updated during budget conversations every year. The capital budget and capital plan were passed unanimously at the last regular council meeting.