County happenings

2009 Budget

A regular meeting of the Council of Ponoka County was held on Dec. 11.

2009 Budget

The 2009 budget won’t be available until April or May. Originally, the overall allocation to transportation from the provincial government was slated to increase, but because of the current state of the economy, a decrease was more likely to take place. Initially, the Pavement Rehabilitation budget was supposed to be increased but it too is likely to be reduced.

There were very few funds left over for regular capital projects like base paving because of Alberta’s commitments to improving HWY 63 and the Anthony Henday in Edmonton.

Paving and Tender process

The price of asphalt has decreased but there is a limited number of asphalt cement suppliers. There are still some contractors who are not yet busy for the 2009 year, so a tender in early 2009 may lure in some competitive bids. It was also mentioned that 75 per cent of Alberta Transportation’s work for this year is already tendered at prices that are 15 per cent lower than last year, 2008. It was said that four new asphalt plants have been established in Alberta since 2007. If the County placed time restrictions on it’s tender, it may increase the cost.

Highway 604

The engineering of Highway 604 is currently being worked on as part of Alberta Transportation’s three-year plan. The right of way is being purchased but they have been having some issues with the utilities in the area,

CEP Program

There is a capital fund for emergent projects (CEP) program that could be accessed for projects that could not meet the requirements for the large capital projects. These projects must have the local MLA’s support and can not go over $6.5 million.

Year-End Public Works Report

16.5 miles of road had been constructed, 44.5 miles of road had been upgraded, one bridge had been replaced, six miles of road had been built, 330 spots of dust control had been applied, 141,000 yards of gravel had been crushed, 163,450 yards of gravel had been spread to complete the gravel program and most of the chip-sealing projects proposed had also been completed (15 miles).

2009 projects

One road construction project is planned to happen for 2009. The remainder of Range Road 40 will be constructed.

Ponoka County’s 10-year plan for MSI funding included reconstruction of the Key pit haul road and the Scott Road.

It was suggested that chip sealing would protect the roads in Division 2 for some years. It was proposed that Baker Road be extended. The first Chain Lakes road could be chip sealed for about five miles. The Red Deer Lake Road, The Asker Road, the Ponoka Cemetery Road and the Reid Road all need to have the second lift of chip seal, which means all five miles of the first Chain Lakes road may not be possible.

The following projects were agreed upon by council to proceed in 2009:

RR 40—one mile, W 30-43-3-W5 (completion of 2008 construction)

RR 40—six miles, W 30 and 31-42-3-W5 and W 6,7,18,19-43-3-W5

TR 422—(Key Gravel Haul road)—3 miles, N, 10, 11 and 12-42-2-W4

RR251—(Scott Road)—two miles, W 1 and 12-42-25-W4

Ponoka Airport 2007 deficit

The Town of Ponoka asked for the County’s financial support of the Ponoka Industrial Airport—Labrie Field deficit for 2007. These lease rates had been increased for 2009 in order to try and avoid a future deficit. The cost to the County is $3,889.

Wages

It was moved and carried unanimously that staff salary/wage be increased by four per cent in 2009.

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