Cranbrook City Council has endorsed a plan that will push back $7.3-million in community projects to 2021 and beyond, all in an effort to reduce costs in the municipality during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the time being, Industrial Land Development (ILD) projects have been pulled from the 2020 budget. Those projects include gravel road installation and the construction of deep and shallow utilities. The City is reallocating $566,000 from those ILD projects back into the 2020 Captial Works Program. Cranbrook said the ILD projects will be back on the table for budget deliberations in 2021.
“Council and staff worked diligently on identifying the essential and non-essential items or projects for the balance of this year. We know that some decisions are not going to be popular, but rest assured they were necessary,” said Mayor Lee Pratt. “The citizens’ best interests were always considered.”
Projects still moving forward in 2020 include the Capital Works Program, the City’s annual road rehabilitation program which also include water, sanitary, and storm sewer construction. The Western Financial Place roof project will still proceed, along with the replacement of the brine chiller, and new boards for the arena at Western Financial Place, as well as the Kinsmen Arena. The Water Quality Asset Management Plan will also move forward in 2020, along with sediment control and channel construction for Joseph Creek, and replacement of a wheeled excavator.
“While a lot of work went into identifying priority projects for the 2020-2024 Five Year Financial Plan, the City needed to take steps to ensure that sufficient liquidity levels could be maintained to protect against reduced cash flows due to COVID-19,” said Charlotte Osborne, Director of Finance with the City of Cranbrook.
Osborne said projects that could be temporarily pushed back without increasing risk to the public or other city-owned assets, were identified and reviewed with City Council.
“If it becomes necessary to free up funds to temporarily finance operations until cash flow improves, some of these projects may be eliminated from the budget and would need to be brought back during a later budget cycle for reconsideration,” noted Osborne, although all of the deferred projects are being carried forward to 2021. “This move represents good financial management and will help the City be able to continue to provide services to the residents, meet its contractual obligations and be better able to deal with potential emergencies such as flood or wildfire events.”
In 2020, a total of $8.54-million in projects are planned to proceed, while another $6.36-million is ready to be spent on projects that are already underway or will be fully completed in 2021.
The City of Cranbrook has deferred $4.71-million in new projects with their adjustment, while $2.62-million in other projects will still move forward in 2020 if the economic situation changes.
“I am extremely happy with the Council and staff on all their efforts put forth in this exercise,” added Pratt. “I also ask the citizens and general public to be patient and understanding during these unprecedented times.”
“Together we will get through this.”
More: City of Cranbrook 2020 Project Review (City Council)