Provincial money designed to create opportunities to keep people working will hopefully help Bashaw make some much needed capital improvements.
At their meeting on Aug. 20, council decided to put forward projects that included replacing the roof on the arena along with some interior painting and a small project at the curling rink.
CAO Theresa Fuller explained that Bashaw is eligible for nearly $98,700 from the municipal stimulus program and that they can submit up to five projects for approval.
“It’s kind of a unique situation, as you can’t apply and then hold onto the money to pay for a bigger project,” she said.
“We have to apply prior to Oct. 1 and comply with some regulations.”
That includes sustaining or creating local jobs, reducing municipal red tape to promote private sector investment, enhancing competitiveness and productivity as well as positioning the municipality for future economic growth.
Mayor Penny Shantz wondered if work on the town’s strategic plan could be included while Coun. Lynn Schultz was curious about any restrictions on what could be funded.
Fuller stated the program doesn’t seem to allow for planning documents and can’t be used to purchase items that Bashaw really needs such as a new flush truck and a new sanding truck.
One thought was the funding could be used to purchase and install around 80 new water meters, but Fuller said it might not be eligible depending on how the project is interpreted.
“If we did it as a big batch and installed, it could be said to be part of the distribution system upgrade. Yet, I was also told it may not be approved, so they recommended a more viable option would be using our federal gas tax funding,” she said.
In the end, council selected all three projects partly due to the costs — estimated at $85,000 overall to take as full advantage of the funding as possible — and also because many of its other capital projects were not eligible. Another potential project could be the seal coating of some town streets.
Fuller added she would also confirm with the province what other projects on the town’s 2020 capital list may be eligible, so as to not miss out on any of the available funding.
Bashaw’s lagoon upgrade project got official approval on Aug. 14, when the province announced funding for eight infrastructure projects in a press release.
Council had approved its share — nearly $179,000 — of the approximate $715,000 project earlier this year. The press release confirmed the provincewill provide its share of about $250,000 with the federal government handing over $286,000.
There was a short discussion among council about where its share would come from, with Fuller suggesting it may be possible to use their federal gas tax funding for 2020 and 2021.
“If we don’t use this money, I don’t know where we would get the money for it,” said Schultz.
“If the money is available, let’s get it done because what scares me is there will come a time that governments won’t have the money to give out for these kinds of projects”
Coun. Rosella Peterman felt it would be better to apply for all the funding they can get, since the project is a big ticket item for the town and needs to be completed.
The project, which is slated to be done next year, has been on the books for five years waiting for funding.
A property in town will come up for public auction as a result of unpaid property taxes. Council has approved a sale date of Nov. 16.
The specific property and the amount of the sale, as well as how much has not been paid, was not released.
Council also approved the standard conditions and terms the auction must follow.
The property owner has until the actual start of the auction to pay the outstanding amount in order to keep ownership.
Public works was able to get the fountain at the fish pond working again, but the dock remains inaccessible due to the high water level. Crews also had to deal with the theft of fuel from its grader, after someone broke the lock on the fuel tank.
Meanwhile, the contractor has been through the arena’s heating and ventilation systems to look at what may need to be repaired before they take over the maintenance of those systems.
In addition, Fuller stated the plan is to have ice in the arena ready for the end of September, but that plans are still beimg worked on to address COVID-19 precautions.