Adjustments to the MD of Pincher Creek’s 2021 budget for gravel expenditures has freed up cash for other expenses.
The MD’s past practice was to set aside funds in reserves for gravel pit reclamation. However, during the 2020 year-end process, the MD changed the way gravel reclamation was recorded.
Since the MD is obligated to reclaim these pits, reclamation costs are better considered an incurred expenditure or liability as compared to an expense not yet incurred, which is what reserve funds are set aside for.
While the MD reviews the gravel reclamation process, gravel crushing operations have been postponed for the year. With reclamation expenditures dropping from $185,000 to $75,000, and $525,000 for crushing and $250,000 for royalties no longer being needed, council approved adjusting other portions of the 2021 budget to offset some fiscal challenges and demands. Repurposed funds include increasing the totals for several 2021 expenses.
The $96,670 budgeted for information technology has been increased by $10,000, which will help cover unforeseen costs of data security and exploring an email billing system. The new system is anticipated to bring future cost savings.
Culvert repairs and installations in the MD will also receive an additional $25,000 due to increased supply costs associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Water services will see an increase of $20,000, which will cover a generator installation for the raw water pumps at the Cowley Lundbreck Regional Water Treatment Plant and storage tank inspections at the Oldman and Waterton reservoirs.
Both the installation and inspections were being proposed in the 2022 budget.
Similarly, proposed upgrades to the Cowley and Pincher Creek standpipes, along with a new standpipe being installed at Beaver Mines, also received a $235,000 addition.
With a temporary recycling site being established in the Co-op Ranchland Centre parking lot, administration is exploring options for a permanent transfer station to take MD and town residents’ recycling and waste material. An additional $350,000 has been reallocated to help in the process of acquiring a site.
Both projects are in the preliminary stage as the MD awaits final plans and engineered estimates before being presented to council for final approval.
Repurposing the 2021 budget will also allow the MD to increase contributions to reserves, which will eventually help as current grants available through the provincial and federal governments are anticipated to decrease in the future.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze