Penticton city council has approved more than $4.7 million in new spending in advance of their yearly budget deliberations.
Those budget talks are delayed this year, with no firm date set other than in the first quarter of 2019. In the meantime, city business goes on, and as chief financial officer Jim Bauer explained to council, there are a few capital projects that needed to be moved forward so they could get underway in 2019.
Bauer presented council with a list of 18 capital projects the city wants to get started on early in 2019, ranging from a $600,000 continuation of work in the lane east of the 200 block of Main Street to replacing the carpeting in the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
At $380,000 the carpet replacement wasn’t the priciest item on the list — that was $633,500 for a chlorine generation system at the water treatment plant. But it did cause the most discussion as council questioned whether it really needed to be done.
“To me it doesn’t look worn, but I see where the joins come together it is a little tattered. Isn’t there any way we can get another year or two out of it, instead of spending all those funds?” asked Mayor John Vassilaki. “To spend $380,000, we have other issues that require those kinds of funds, more important than a carpet.”
Bregje Kozak, facilities director, said patching the problem is exactly what has been going on for the last few years, at a cost of $5,000 to $15,000 per year. At almost 20 years old, the carpet is beyond its lifecycle, especially in a high traffic environment like the Trade and Convention Centre.
“Every time we do that work, we know we are going to have to go back to it in a couple of years,” said Kozak, adding that the carpet replacement has been on the books since 2011.
“They (seams) are ok for a year or two, then they start to unravel again, then we see more spots continually appearing that start to create trip hazards and safety issues if they are not continuously dealt with.
“At some point, we do have to consider replacement.”
Vassilaki also wondered if the purchase of a new sewer flush truck couldn’t be delayed for a couple of years.
“I was wondering if we can keep that for another year or two, or is it that far gone that it has to be replaced?” asked Vassilaki.
Mitch Moroziuk, general manager of infrastructure, said there were a number of problems with equipment on the existing truck.
“Our concern is that is the only one we have and if one of those pieces of equipment fails … that truck could be down for months before we get the parts we need,” said Moroziuk. “There are too many major components that are causing us concern, and it is the only one we have.”
City council approved the entire $4,772,103 list, which also included 40 breathing packs for the fire department, valued at about $7,700 each, replacing units that are over 10 years old.
Now that they have been approved with an amendment to Penticton’s five-year financial plan, the capital project will be included as part of the 2019 financial plan.
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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