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Dehcho

Fort Simpson expresses financial confidence for the years ahead


Fort Simpson’s mayor and council on Tuesday reviewed the village’s budget estimates and five-year capital plan, outlining major projects planned for coming years and how they will be funded.

At the village’s second-last council meeting of the term – a new council will be elected on Monday, October 18 – finance manager Darrell White said “things bode well moving forward” and there is plenty of capacity for projects.

Chipsealing in the community will cost about $250,000 in 2022, $80,000 is set aside for sidewalk repairs, and composting and landfill upgrades are expected to cost $640,000.

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The village is still to spend just under $350,000 of approximately $1.7 million received for recreation centre upgrades in 2017. Next year, some of that remaining money will be spent on a roof assessment and a fresh coat of paint.

Other planned projects include completion of improvements to the ski hill, playground enhancements, insulating the pool, establishing a basketball court, a new water study, and acquiring an “enhanced burn structure” for volunteer firefighter training.

A community plan outlining longer-term priorities is also due for completion next year.

Estimated operational expenditures in the budget have increased about $140,000 over last year, White said, highlighting increases in the protective services and recreation budgets. Water and sewer expenditures are expected to decrease.

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Estimated revenues in the budget are up about $200,000 over the past year, partly through a new ambulance fee and anticipated tax dollars from office complexes nearing completion.

White expects a budget surplus of just under $60,000.

The village anticipates it will finish paying off a 20-year loan related to its sewage plant in 2025, which costs $250,000 annually.

Mayor Sean Whelly said he felt Fort Simpson is in a “good financial spot.”

“The fact we don’t have many other loans we’re paying on creates some flexibility going ahead, so that’s another good thing,” he said.

“That’s on top of what I think has been a healthy and productive three-year term of completing capital projects successfully.

“We haven’t overly committed to too many large capital projects, we have a little bit to do next year. This will give the new council a chance to really review and set new priorities with the knowledge there is capital funding in place and expecting new allotments as we go forward.”

There are 15 people running for eight councillor positions in Fort Simpson’s upcoming election. The candidates are Celine Antoine, Troy Bellefontaine, Cynthia Browning, Walter Blondin, Charles Blyth, Kyle Christiansen, John Dempsey, Rosemary Gill, Kirby Groat, Muaz Hassan, Liza McPherson, Chris Snider, Randal Sibbeston, James Tsetso, and Leslie Wright.

Whelly was the only individual to run for mayor and will hold the position for another three-year term.

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