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Amherst town council approves $2.1-million capital budget

A combined water and general capital budget of slightly more than $2.1 million for the 2021-22 fiscal year was approved by Amherst town council during its April 26, 2021, council session.

“These capital projects will help us maintain our town infrastructure and allow us to continue providing the many excellent services we do for the citizens of the Town of Amherst,” Mayor David Kogon said.

The water department’s capital budget was set at $452,000, with the largest capital expenditure being the replacement of 152 metres of water main on Spring Street, between Croft and Church streets, at an estimated cost of $177,000.

Another major capital expenditure for the water department is the purchase of a new dump truck at a cost of about $175,000. The new truck will replace a 17-year-old vehicle that was due to be replaced in 2016.

During the past three years it cost the town slightly more than $10,000 to maintain the older truck. Replacing it will improve operational efficiencies, provide a safe, reliable vehicle for town employees and give the town a second truck capable of being equipped with a salt hopper.

The general capital budget was set at just under $1.7 million. It includes $250,000 for the replacement of the sanitary sewer, storm sewer and sidewalk, and the paving of a 152-metre section of Spring Street, between Croft and Church Streets.

Another $220,000 has been approved for the replacement of the severely deteriorating corrugated storm sewer on Franklyn Street with a modern PVC pipe and the repaving of the street.

Approval was also given to purchase a new ice-resurfacing machine for the Amherst Stadium at an estimated cost of about $200,000. The new machine will replace the 16-year-old Zamboni that has reached the end of its life. The town spent more than $27,000 repairing the machine, which was due to be replaced in 2020, over the last three years.

The town will spend about $285,000 repaving several streets: Tupper Boulevard, between the TIR office and Chandler Road, Summit Avenue, Haliburton Street, Townshend Avenue, between Church and Academy streets, and Dickey Street, between Charles and Rupert streets.

Also included in the budget is $50,000 for new bunker gear and fire hose for the fire department, $65,000 for a new police car, $40,000 for renovations to the cenotaph in Victoria Square and $55,000 for new sidewalks on Croft Street, between Beacon and East Pleasant streets, Park Street, between Patterson and Patterson streets, and Laplanche Street, from the existing sidewalk to the beginning of the Marsh Trail.

Funding for these capital projects will come from long-term borrowing, the federal gas tax and the town’s water and general operating budgets.

Council also approved just under $1.2 million in carry-over projects from the 2020-21 fiscal year that could not be completed for a variety of reasons, including delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Included in the carry-over projects is $40,000 for monitoring wells at the wellfield, $240,000 for a permanent generator at the wellfield, $367,951 for solar panels on the roof of the fire and police stations (part of the Solar for Community Buildings Project), $50,000 to upgrade the Racetrack Road pumping station, $50,000 for a new sanitary sewer east of the Willow Street trail and $50,000 to build a trail following the installation of the sewer line.

Funding for the carry-over projects is coming from capital reserves, operating reserves, the federal gas tax, the challenge fund grant and long-term borrowing, which was originally approved during the last fiscal year.

The entire capital budget will be available soon on the town’s website at: https://amherst.ca/budgets.html.