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Capital budget proposed at $53m with 6 new funding requests

Capital Budget pixThe city’s 2016 capital budget is proposed at $53 million. Of that amount, $1.5 million is for new projects; $44m is for capital asset renewal; and $7.6 million is for projects related to population growth. Projects are divided into 8 asset categories, with roadways taking the vast majority of funding, at $29 million. Next is facilities and buildings ($7.3 million); fleet vehicles/accessories/equipment ($5 million); storm water management ($5.2 million); parks and open space ($3.6 million); information technology ($2.2 million); local boards ($658k); and parking ($150k).

The city’s capital budget includes six requests for additional funding, including the Elgin Street promendade, emergency operations centre, parking data collection equipment, customer relations project and more. Details of each, and My Take, are below.

There are more than 30 proposed amendments to the budget from various members of council (see links below); staff have also provided answers to questions that arose during budget discussions.

One of my questions was on funding for transit shelters. Demand for shelters always exceeds budget, so I asked if advertising revenue from shelters could be used to finance installation of new shelters (revenue currently goes into the general transit revenue).  According to transit staff, bus shelter advertising revenue is $10,421 per month. The average cost for a new shelter including all concrete is approximately $12,770 each. Thirteen shelters were installed in 2015, two on the Ward2/Ward1 boundary: Maple Ave at Fairview (south bound) and Plains Rd. E. at Maple (west bound)

Elgin Street Promenade

Transportation staff are requesting $225,000 to begin to connect the bike path at Martha Street through to Brant and Elgin Streets with a pedestrian promenade. The funding will go toward one section of this promenade between Pearl and Elizabeth streets, due for repaving anyway. The project was identified in the city’s Core Commitment as infrastructure that would improve east-west pedestrian and cycling connections in the downtown.

  • Amount: $225,000
  • Funding source: Capital: $188,000; External: $37,000 (includes Canada 150 funding; the Burlington Downtown Business Association is also contributing to the project)
  • My Take: Support

Emergency Operations Centre

The Burlington Fire Department is requesting to set up the Corporate Emergency Operations Centre. This site will provide a central location for staff from a variety of agencies and local partners, including the Region, Police, Hydro and others as required by the type of emergency. Among other things, the funding will provide alternate power (generator), and the necessary audio visual technologies.

  • Amount: $400,000
  • Funding source: Capital
  • My Take: Support

Parking Data Collection Equipment

Transportation staff are requesting $300,000 over three years to install underground “pucks” in on street parking spaces, and sensors at the entry of parking lots in the downtown, to provide an accurate count of parking utilization.

  • Amount: $300,000
  • Funding source: Parking District Reserve Fund
  • My Take: Support. I will be bringing a motion to the budget meeting to advance the funding to complete the project in 2016, to provide three years of accurate data prior to 2019, when the next parking structure is scheduled for construction. Funding is all from reserves and has no tax impact.

Customer Relations Management

The information technology department is asking for funding for to analyse customer service needs in the city and then implement the findings with new technology, where needed. The first component will be the creation of a Corporate Customer Service Strategy. This will define the corporation’s vision for customer service and budget estimates for the acquisition of a CRM system and operational budget impacts to support it. With an approved Strategy and budget, the second component will focus on the management of the purchase and implementation of the CRM system, potential infrastructure and resource changes. The project will be implemented over two years, and may require additional capital funding in future budgets.

  • Amount: $445,000
  • Funding source: Capital
  • Operating Impact: $157,500 in one-time costs for  one full time staff in 2017
  • My Take: Support

Tractor/Loader for City View Park

The roads and parks maintenance department is requesting funding for a new tractor/loader with cab to assist in park maintenance at City View Park. Part of the maintenance includes new and existing trail systems, Kerncliff Park, sports field cultural maintenance, and maintenance of future ball diamonds. This purchase would also include a ball diamond groomer attachment.

  • Amount: $65,000
  • Funding source: Capital
  • Operating Impact: $5,500 per year additional costs to operating budget
  • My Take: Support

Light fixtures and audio equipment for Burlington Performing Arts Centre

The Burlington Performing Arts Centre is seeking a contribution from the city toward LED theatrical lighting fixtures and portable audio equipment. Additional funding come from the Canada 150 fund and BPAC.

  • Amount: $90,000
  • Funding source: Capital: $40,000; External: $25,000 (Canada 150 funding approved); BPAC: $25,000
  • My Take: Undecided

Key dates and resources

The Community & Corporate Services Committee will consider the capital budget and proposed amendments on Dec. 10, 9:30am, followed by a council vote Dec. 16, 6:30 pm. Residents can Register as  Delegation to speak at either meeting.

The operating budget will be considered in January 2016.

2016_Proposed_Capital_Budget_Web

Staff report – Capital Budget

Council amendments to the capital budget: Capital Budget Review Form

Capital Budget Questions – follow up

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

2 Comments

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  1. PARKING DATA COLLECTION. $300,000 to count the number of parked cars ??? Why not create jobs by having people stand and count them ???
    I agree with Michele (above) on the cost of transit shelters. I believe in Toronto they are installed by the advertisors in return for the ad revenue. ???

  2. I am shocked at what the Transit dept is being charged for Bus shelters. I had a quote for my front porch…poured concrete as well, with beams and posts and a roof…and it was less than a bus shelter…I truly believe they need to have that job re-quoted because that is unacceptable.

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