Iqaluit city council amends capital budget
Council also approves 2019 financial statements, funding applications
Iqaluit city councillors approved amendments to the city’s capital budget on Tuesday, as well as several funding applications and the city’s 2019 financial statements.
Changes to the capital budget, which were presented by city officials as better reflecting the needs of the city and the pandemic-related challenges facing the territory, had been proposed to the finance committee last week.
The original capital budget, which was approved in December, came in at $31 million, while the amended budget shaves $1 million off that.
“Some of the reasons for this is there are a number of … carry-forwards that weren’t quite completed last year,” said Chief Administrative Officer Amy Elgersma.
A carry-forward is a capital project that took longer than expected to complete, so it was carried forward to a later fiscal year.
“We’re not asking for additional funds, we just want to carry them forward in the capital budget to highlight them there, as well as a couple of changes due to the availability of labour, as well as materials for some of the projects.”
Among the projects being delayed until next year is a hydrotechnical investigation at the dam. And while the design work on the Arnaitok complex and fire hall upgrades will go ahead, construction will be delayed until next year as well.
“We need to bring in special consultants for these projects, and some of the equipment will be difficult to procure right now,” said Elgersma. “But we would like to proceed with them next year.”
In addition to changes due to the ongoing pandemic, the city also identified several other pressing items that needed to be addressed, including a water line replacement near the four-way intersection close to Arctic Ventures.
“This is a priority that needs to be addressed this year to prevent further freezes and problems in lower Iqaluit,” said Elgersma.
A significant achievement
On Tuesday, councillors also approved the city’s consolidated financial statements, which reflect Iqaluit’s fiscal performance in 2019.
Although this is something done by the council every year, 2019 represented a significant achievement for the city.
“For the first time in recent years, all of our funds are out of deficit,” said Coun. Kyle Sheppard, chair of the finance committee.
In 2018 the city had a deficit of $1.6 million, while a year later it ended up with a net surplus of $11.3 million.
According to information provided in a news release, it’s the first time since 2013 that the city has finished the year in the black.
“The changes made to taxes and fee structures will allow us to start addressing some of the gaps,” said Sheppard.
But more will be needed.
“Fiscal stability and improvements to our financial position allow us to better plan for the future and consider our long-term infrastructure needs,” said Bell, who also cautioned that despite Iqaluit’s current financial standing, projects such as the city’s water supply will still require significant investment from territorial and federal governments.
In addition to budget-related motions, the council also approved the following four funding applications for projects across the city:
- As part of the Akilliq Road upgrade project, the city will be submitting an application to the Department of Economic Development and Transportation’s Community Transportation Initiatives Program, which would provide $300,000 in funding for drainage work around the road.
- The city will also be requesting $300,000 in federal funding from CanNor for a permafrost study of the City of Iqaluit’s utilidor infrastructure. The study would also include recommendations for long-term alternatives that reduce the risk of damage caused by climate change to the system.
- Council also approved a funding application for $85,000 to CanNor and the Government of Nunavut that would add four new tourism signs around the city: A Road to Nowhere sign, a new “Welcome to Iqaluit” sign and signs for both Apex and Tarr Inlet trailheads.
- The final funding application for the amount of $200,000, again to CanNor, was for a study looking at the impacts of climate change on the city’s long-term water supply. According to city documents, this would “ensure that a new supply and storage source have been identified, and are implemented for use by 2026, when the city’s current water licence expires.”
Full details for each application can be found on the city’s website.
The next city council meeting will be held on May 26.