(File photo)

Town of Castor takes first steps towards new Beaverdome plant

The Town of Castor council has made tentative steps towards securing the replacement for the Beaverdome plant room.

Council reviewed a pair of tenders for the project during their April 25 council meeting; one from current contractor Startec Services at a cost of around $780,000, plus some not-accounted for costs, as well as a tender from Cimco for a cost of $875, 400, also including some unbudgeted items.

Both tenders account for the decommissioning of the current plant room and the placement of a new one, with all new mechanical equipment needed to run the arena.

Due to the Cimco bid having more of the unbudgeted items accounted for in it’s tender, council ultimately ended up choosing it as the winner; however, the motion presented by Coun. Kevin McDougall directed administration to solidify the cost of the unbudgeted items so the proper granting can be applied for.

Because of the timelines surrounding materials, the soonest the project is going to occur is 2023, which, due to the condition of the one of the two compressors in the arena, calls into question whether the arena will be active for the 2022/2023 hockey season.

Administration has been informed that without a compressor overhaul, one of the two compressors could fail on start up, and without both compressors running the arena would not be able to operate. However, administration was also told that it is possible that the compressor could fire up with no issue and the arena could operate for one more season out with current equipment; there’s just no way of knowing.

With the impending plant room replacement, council did not feel spending the approximately $20,000 to overhaul the compressor was worth it.

Tax increase

After working on a budget to not increase the municipal property tax rate in 2022, council has made the decision to do a one per cent tax increase after all.

Without the increase, the town would be running a very narrow balanced-budget with absolutely nothing set aside for reserves.

“At one per cent, I could budget $11,000 for reserves,” said chief administrative officer (CAO) Christopher Robblee.

“We usually build in a one per cent contingency, but if one or two things go wrong in a year…”

Further complicating budgeting is rapidly escalating inflation and the Ukraine conflict driving up costs of everything from fertilizer to fuel. While costs were already high in the fall, the ensuing months have done nothing but seen them continue to rise.

“I think the mistake we made in this room is we had (Christopher) budget zero,” said Mayor Richard Elhard. “I think that was a mistake. 2023 is going to bite us.”

Deputy Mayor Trudy Kilner moved to have a one per cent tax increase in 2022, a motion which was carried in a four to three split.

Coun. Don Sisson supported the motion.

“I’ve never complained about my taxes,” said Sisson.

“We live in a pretty darn good town. I think we have to go up one per cent. It doesn’t matter what we do, we’re going to get (complaints).”

With the increase decided, Robblee needs to amend the bylaw which will enshrine the tax in law for the year and bring it back to a subsequent meeting.

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