Cold Lake councillors have begun talks for the City’s 2021 budget as of Wednesday which will help determine any tax increases residents can expect in the new year.
Council and the Mayor will focus on determining the City’s tax level, as well as drawing up guidelines that future councillors will be able to use in prioritizing projects going forward.
“What we really would like to do in the new year is get the current council together and build out a 10 year capital vision,” said Mayor Craig Copeland on The Morning After. “That way the next council has a framework of where we want to be heading.”
Copeland also mentioned that he was looking forward to delving into Cold Lake’s capital budget, which is being approached with an emphasis on having tenders ready for bidding as soon as possible to help stimulate local economy.
“Our focus this year is getting tenders out ahead of the rush so local companies will know what’s available for them to bid on,” said Copeland. “We want to get the economic wheel spinning. We’ve got some provincial and federal money sitting here, and we want to get it out there for some good prices to get some people out there working.”
Cold Lake’s been in no shortage of capital projects needing to be addressed.
“On the capital side, we’ve got a couple of issues,” said Copeland. “Lakeshore Drive is degrading and falling apart. There’s a lot of old underground sewer pipe in there that we’re bringing someone in to deal with. We’ve got to build a brand new RCMP building, and the Humane Society, there’s a little bit of money to go towards those projects.
“We’ve got around $400 million worth of projects to address, but there isn’t $400 million to spend, so prioritization is going to play a large role.”
Copeland also mentioned the city’s new wastewater treatment plant, which in addition to having funds redirected to fund $1 million in redesign costs also received $5.8 million in grants to assist the city with upgrading the facility, which is projected to cost around $20 million.
The bike park and a new staff building were also projects Copeland said he’d like to see addressed sooner rather than later.