NIPAWIN — Nipawin has passed its 2023 budget with a 1.36 per cent increase to the general levy and money towards strategic long-term planning with a unanimous vote. The town will also assume responsibility for the regional landfill.
In other communities this year, Melfort saw a 4.5 per cent increase to their general tax levy, while Humboldt saw a 5.1 per cent increase.
Chief administrative officer Joel Cardinal said an investment into long-term long range plans, water distribution network master infrastructure plans, sanitary and sewer system plans are key components to the budget and will help the Town of Nipawin understand their infrastructure and better identify projects that will have better return on value and provide a better maintenance strategy. He mentioned the Town of Nipawin also went through an accounting system conversion, which made developing and producing the budget more difficult.
The Town of Nipawin has assumed responsibilities for the regional landfill. Previously, it was run by the Boreal Area Regional Waste Authority, which had the Town of Nipawin, the RM of Nipawin, the Resort Village of Tobin Lake, the Village of Aylsham and the Village of Codette as members. Each municipality paid based on their population as determined by the census. Under the new funding agreement, they will be paying the same as when they were members of the landfill authority as outlined in the agreement for a period of three years with the exception of consumer price index adjustments as per an agreed formula, said Cardinal.
The landfill has considerable expenses in the future. The Landfill Decommissioning Project that was projected to cost $3.6 million now has a price tag of over $6.8 million.
The Town of Nipawin is now trying to find ways to make this project more affordable, seeking out more grant funding opportunities but the options are limited, Cardinal said. Construction and inflationary expenses have increased for this project, and a new cell will need to be built as well in the future, adding to more costs.
“I’m confident the administration, we will have the ability to properly manage the landfill and transition the burden off the ratepayers as best we can.”
Other items within the 2023 budget will be the installation and updating of their IT Infrastructure with a budget of $41,000. This will upgrade the Town of Nipawin’s upgraded servers and communication systems.
Protective Services saw the approval in the 2023 budget were 14 SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) of $126,000 for the fire department.
The arena dressing room at the Jubilee arena $396,000, which was helped paid for in grant funding. This project was initiated late last year and completed earlier this year.
The Multi-Sport Court received $80,000 which will be put towards concept drawings and designing the new outdoor multi-sport court space. Basketball, volleyball, pickleball, are a few of the sports that can be played on the court. There will be more public input on this outdoor recreational site, said Cardinal. The Town of Nipawin plans on making this outdoor space ascetically pleasing and user friendly.
The Nipawin Evergreen viewing platform was approved for $75,000. Cardinal said this was to make this area more user friendly and be used more often.
With all these projects the Town of Nipawin has received several grants to help pay for some of these projects. The ICIP (Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program) helped pay for $1.2 million of out of $1.67 million in the arena dressing room project at Jubilee Arena. The water treatment plant received $38,400 through ICIP for the $20.4 million project that began in the spring of 2016 and the Landfill Decommissioning received $2.6 million of the initial projected cost of $3.5 million.
Cardinal said in terms of paving, there will be some done within the operational budget but said this is where when the master plan comes into play as there are many ways to maintain and preserve pavement with many options. This will increase its life expectancy, while reducing the amount of investment needed at that time. In the future, Cardinal said citizens can expect the Town of Nipawin to have a pavement preservation and rejuvenation plan.
Long range planning was also a focal point of the budget process and council approved a five, 10, 15, 20 and 25 year capital plan.