Ponoka town council plans to borrow up to $885,000 to pay for the 57th Avenue reconstruction and railway crossing project.
First reading has been given to a bylaw authorizing council to borrow half of the estimated cost of $1,770,000. The town had planned to borrow the full amount but learned it was eligible to receive a resource road grant for half the cost.
Actual cost of the project was $1,247,000 but town officials do not know yet if all receipts for the project will be approved by Alberta Transportation.
“It did come in significantly under budget,” said Betty Quinlan, director of corporate services.
Although the town will be authorized to borrow more, it will only draw what is necessary.
The project, officially opened in January, is the first phase of the town’s dangerous goods and truck route that will direct all large truck traffic out to Highway 2A.
The 57th Avenue crossing project included the cost of new roadway from 49th Street to 50th Street complete with pedestrian access and automatic warning systems including gates, bells and flashing lights as required by Transport Canada.
Town council recently awarded the next phase of the project to Central City Asphalt with a bid of $2,379,906. The project consists of installation of a water main from 60th Avenue north across Highway 2A, storm sewer with catch basins, and a paved road with curb and gutter.
New voting system for Ponoka
Town council recently approved a bylaw allowing use of an electronic voting system in municipal elections this fall.
CAO Brad Watson told council the electronic system will be more efficient and save the town about $2,000 compared to the cost in 2007 of the old system of printing and manually counting ballots. The cost of the October election is budgeted at $10,000 but the new system should cost less than $7,000.
Fewer staff will be required and there will be no need to purchase printed ballots or stationery supplies.
An electronic voting system was used in communities such as Innisfail, Olds, Devon, Redwater, Rocky Mountain House and Wetaskiwin. “Each of the communities said, ‘We’ll never go back to the old style,’” Watson said.
Voting stations would display the name and photograph of the candidates for office. Voters simply push a button corresponding to the candidate of their choice. Voters may also choose to abstain from voting by selecting that button.
One company the town is considering to provide the technology is VoteTech, which claims final results would be tabulated in 30 seconds.
“I think that’s quite optimistic,” Watson said. “Certainly within three to five minutes.”