Wawa Council Reviews Proposed Capital Budget

Wawa Municipal Council has had its first look at the proposed capital budget.

CAO/Treasurer Maury O'Neill outlined the budget, which totals $4,635,086 in already committed and otherwise recommended projects, though only $427,111 (9.2%) would come from taxation, with $1,200,689 (25.9%) from reserves - the lion's share (more than $3-million, or roughly two-thirds) is expected to come from outside funding.

Already committed projects make up $3.27-million of that total - with the municipal contribution expected to be a little over $1-million - for projects like the ongoing reconstruction of Toronto Avenue, the Waterfront Project, work on Pinewood Drive and lower Government Road, the landfill expansion, work at Scenic High Falls Park, now-completed repairs at the Community Centre, the THM study, and the liquified natural gas study.

Other staff-recommended projects - totalling $1,365,000 ($624,786 from the municipality) - include: "street furniture" for Broadway Avenue and Mission Road; new accounting software; manhole base slabs; repairs to the Public Works building; an outflow grate at the sewage lagoon; pavement crack strip/sealing; more waterline curb stops; a plug outlet for aircraft at the airport; a fuel system upgrade at the airport; water treatment inspection; upgrades for the IT server network; and - pegged at $200,000 (though expected to be fully covered by outside funding) - a new roof for the Town Hall, work that was recommended four years ago, and is noted to be especially important due to recent leaks.

Two other projects are currently "under review": a new tanker for the Fire Department, whose current tanker is considered obsolete with difficulty finding parts; and a new fuel system for Public Works.

The current underground system used by the entire municipal fleet requires repairs, though Infrastructure Services Director Cory Stainthorpe's recommending a new above-ground system - Councillor Pat Tait suggested investigating possibly switching to a card-lock system at a private business, with Stainthorpe to deliver a report on the options.

The capital budget also recommends four projects totalling roughly $9.5-million - about $1-million from municipal coffers - that would be subject to outside funding: the proposed reconstruction of the "Connecting Link" section of Mission Road and Main Street; the reconstruction of "School Zone" roads; currently unspecified upgrades to the Community Centre; and replacement of playground equipment at a park in the Mission.

It was emphasized that those would be subject to funding approval, and may be multi-year projects with municipal funding varying year-by-year.

O'Neill added plans are to move in future years from budgets focused on a year-to-year basis to those that look at three or five years, to better plan capital projects.

It was decided that this draft capital budget will be brought back to Council next Tuesday, May 21st - possibly for a vote - with the draft operating budget expected to be presented to Council in early June for approval late that month.