Lacombe Councillor Chris Ross recently made a motion to have the City reconsider beginning preparation construction on the proposed public works building.
Ross said he made the motion so that council can have a discussion on how extensive provincial and federal spending on the COVID-19 crisis will affect future municipal budgets.
Ross said the discussion would allow council to see how all 2020 request for proposals (RFP) come in, with the possibility of the City finding some savings by shifting around projects
“The service road in front of HWY 2A was planned to have part of it be done in 2020 and the other part in 2021. Hypothetically, if RFPs come in lower, maybe we hold back doing the public works prep,” he said.
Ross is concerned that the province may make changes to programs like MSI and other community building grants to help cover the costs accumulated through COVID-19.
“Those could be less meaning maybe we need to redesignate some projects with that in mind,” he said.
The current public works building has had some recent improvements approved.
“We had to do some improvements regardless because it needed a new roof. That had to be done and we also did some improvements including creating more appropriate restrooms,”he said.
Ross said he understands that public works employees maybe disapointed with a postponement but the unknown financial future of the municipality means council needs to look at their priorities.
“We may have to wait until we have some assurances that Alberta will support municipalities,” he said
Addressing current financial priorities will also influence capital projects down the road.
“We are doing a current fire study where we will have the information by September. The current fire hall works for now but that is another area that needs development,” he said.
Ultimately, Ross would like to see council take a step back and have these discussions.
“I think it is just an opportunity to take a look at the whole picture. With COVID-19, there has been a lot more work for City staff. Our administration, the directors and our CAO have done a wonderful job,” he said.