By Tristan Marks
The Town of Lincoln has moved forward on its 2021 capital budget, setting a zero per cent capital levy increase with a proposed one per cent special infrastructure levy for the next year.
Council approved the capital budget in principal at its Dec. 7 meeting.
The levy will account for about $3 million of the more than $27 million capital budget. The rest of the budget will be paid through reserve funds, long-term borrowing, development charges and other sources.
To help inform budget decisions, Town Staff created a budget engagement survey to collect feedback from Lincoln residents, which can be found online at Lincoln.ca. Many items in the budget reflect the responses from more than 300 residents.
As an example, in response to the question ‘where would you like to see investments made?’, 22 per cent responded with ‘roads’.
More than $14 million of the capital budget will be invested in transportation-related projects. Major items in this category include Jordan Village road restoration and Lincoln’s road improvement program.
Likewise, the top answer to a question regarding funding for additional infrastructures was ‘Continue the special infrastructure levy’.
Initially, staff suggested pausing the special infrastructure levy at its rate from last year, but after some discussion at a Dec. 2 committee of the whole meeting, council decided to increase it at a one per cent rate.
Other items listed in the capital budget include park upgrades and maintenance, sewer upsizing projects, watermain replacements and more.
Lincoln CAO Mike Kirkopoulos said he and staff “felt it was prudent” to make sure the 2021 budget balanced the Town’s infrastructure needs with affordability for Lincoln residents who struggled through the Covid pandemic.
“Staff were prudent in what we presented to council, putting forward projects that continue to build on the infrastructure priorities of our community; utilizing a balance of capital levy, our healthy financial reserves and DCs, as well as debenturing where appropriate,” Kirkopoulos said.
“It is important to note that Council and Staff see infrastructure investment as a method of economic recovery, putting people to work in our community is a key element of setting Lincoln and the broader region down a path of prosperity.”
With the 2021 capital budget approved in principal, council will begin to consider drafts for the 2021 operating budget next month.