Council put its money where its mouth is and transferred $100,000 to the Recreation Centre Construction Reserve in preparation for the potential future project.
The money was transferred from the Facilities and Components Reserve following the regular council meeting on Oct. 5. The direction to transfer funds was brought forward after being deferred in early July.
“I think the more funds we’re putting away in terms of planning for this project over the long term, the better. I think this is money well spent in the long run,” said Coun. Ryan Maguhn.
Initially, the funds were to come from the cancelled pool locker replacement and hot tub drains/jets maintenance project, which was funded by the Federal Gas Tax Fund (FGTF).
However, the parameters of the FGTF grant require the funds be committed and expensed on a project and the Recreation Centre Reserve would not qualify within the parameters of the FGTF grant.
“The concept during budget [deliberations] was that we didn’t see the value in replacing the lockers in a facility that we are looking to do something with and that it was just sensible for council to move that from the lockers into the reserves to support the construction,” said Coun. Dewly Nelson.
With the commitment of the Pool Locker Replacement and the Hot Tub Drains/Jets Maintenance project removed from the 2021 Capital Budget, the FGTF grant dollars must remain in Deferred Revenue until they are committed to another project, stated administration’s report.
“If the intent of council is to use the savings from the cancellation of that project to put into the recreation construction reserve, that $100,000 should actually be transferred from Facilities Components Reserve instead of the One Time Operating Reserve because that One Time Operating Reserve is basically a placeholder for all projects that are already scheduled and approved. It’s almost like a clearing account per se, it doesn’t have the regular transfer put in there for the sake of savings, the savings will be seen in the Facilities Components Reserve,” explained interim CAO, Laura Howarth.
She added that the Facilities Components Reserve had a $700,000 balance at the end of December 2020, which is underfunded at this time.
Administration asked that Council make a new decision regarding the FGTF grant dollars. Administration said FGTF could be used for varied projects like software systems, decommissioning, or mechanical repairs and replacements at the recreation centre. Winston Rossouw, Hinton’s director of development and infrastructure services, noted that is not the full extent of projects eligible for FGTF.
Masha Scheele, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hinton Voice