After a few years of big spending on a new community safety building, retro-fitting the oval post-Olympics and acquiring the Garden City Lands, the City of Richmond's capital budget appears to have leveled out.
Down again to $68.6 million for 2013 - from $72.6 this year - the city's budget for maintaining and renewing infrastructure, equipment, buildings and parks and acquiring land is the lowest it's been since pre-Olympic oval construction days.
It's a point not lost on several city council members, who were told that the operating cost impact of the $68.6 million program would increase next year's property tax by 0.35 per cent.
"I'm pleased to see we're focusing on the bread and butter, with lots of (the budget) for the safety of the public," said Coun. Bill McNulty at Monday's finance committee meeting.
Fifty nine per cent, or $39 million, of the budget will be spent on infrastructure, such as roads, drainage and sanitary pump stations.
Almost $3 million will be spent on an interim Lansdowne Road extension from Alderbridge Way to Minoru Boulevard and $1.8 million on Nelson Road improvements.
While upgrading the Bath Slough pump station will cost $4.2 million.
Almost $2 million each will be needed to repair the building envelope at the West Richmond Community Centre next year and for the planned Railway Avenue Green Corridor.
Coun. Harold Steves questioned the proposal to pave the four-metre wide Railway Avenue corridor and poked the $500,000 that was requested for Olympic oval precinct's public art program (which was not included in the draft capital budget).
"I'm hoping (the paving) is not on the railway right of way, we should be reserving that for future railway use," said Steves, suggesting a gravel path would be better, pointing out that miles of asphalt would have to be ripped up if a railway ever re-materialized on the route.
"_and I think the art that's on show (at the oval) is horrendous; I support public art, but not what's there. Who makes those decisions?"
City staff informed Steves that the public art concept at the oval was approved by city council.
"Not by me it wasn't, I must have voted against that," joked Steves.
Steves also requested that a move to spend $100,000 on the boardwalk at Britannia Heritage Shipyard should incorporate raising the dyke by a foot to protect it from the rising tide.
McNulty asked for $100,000 to be added to the budget to keep Hugh Boyd turf up to scratch, adding he'd "hate" to see the surface suffer for the sake of $100,000.
Around $10.5 million of the budget will go towards equipment, which includes machinery and vehicles for public works and fire-rescue, computer hardware, library collections and food scraps/organics recycling program expansions.
Only $700,000 and $100,000 has been set aside from city coffers for affordable housing and child care respectively.
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