City budget discussions have entered into their final stages as the City of Estevan hopes to vote on their new budget soon.
"It's been this council's mandate to continue doing large scale projects but also reducing debt," shared City Manager, Jeff Ward. "Our principal debt repayments are $4 million per year so we're mandated to pay those down. Then Council has the ability to borrow $2 million to keep doing projects like King Street and other things while still reducing our net debt by $2 million."
"During final budget deliberations, council will discuss their opinion of that at that time. I know a lot of people will like to see that debt reduction continue moving forward."
"Any type of feedback is appreciated. It's part of Council's initiative to be transparent and focused on community. (The budget) has been out here for about three weeks so if there's any final comments on the budget, please provide them to City Hall, to myself, or the City Clerk and we'll make sure it gets into the budget discussions."
Ward mentioned a bit more regarding some of those capital projects.
"There is two more phases on King Street. Potentially proposed for this year is between Pine Avenue, where we started last year, and Kensington. Which would involve widening to the north a bit to make it symmetrical all the way down."
"The third phase which could be potentially planned for 2019, depending on Council initiatives, would be the valley from Hillcrest to Cundall. There is a lot of underground utilities and service areas in there that need to be repaired so that's a substantial total rehabilitation of the undergrounds and surface. From Pine to Kensington, it's mainly surface repair."
Ward also mentioned work on the Leisure Centre, at the multipurpose
"Part of the initiative is to just make sure we maintain our facilities. It's just general maintenance and upgrades. new paint, new flooring. That facility is rented out quite a bit and used for a lot of our fitness classes so we want to make sure we have a top grade facility for them to use."
Also on the list is Rafferty Dam and the continuation of the Water Treatment Plan.
"That's part of the Canada Builds Fund where we get 66% of the funding from provincial and federal governments to complete it. Over the last two years, the main project has been the residuals management. The second part of that is the $7 million portion which is the intake. That gives us a whole new water intake source from Rafferty Dam."
He added that it is important to have a secondary water source should something happen to contaminate the main water source.
The new Fire Hall and the fate of the old fire hall is also something that will be completed in the 2018 year.
"The old fire Hall is still sitting there vacant, we are looking at different options. There have been some inquiries about leasing the area, there have some internal use discussions as well as some discussions with police so there's a lot to be hashed out there."
Currently, the old fire hall is being used for storage.
The next City Council meeting is Monday, January 22nd at City Hall.