By Kalinowski, Tim on February 25, 2020.
City council has voted to spend $7.52 million on Phase 1 of the Lethbridge Airport’s renovations.
Council unanimously approved the expenditure after Coun. Jeff Carlson amended the original motion which would have had council writing a much larger cheque for $13.8 million for total renovations required in Phase 1-5.
By reducing the amount to $7.52 million it would allow the airport to get on with much needed renovations to the airport’s main customer service and holding areas, and for two other items deemed absolute necessities: a new HVAC system and enhancements to the City’s water delivery system out to the airport, including replacement of the old water line from the city boundary and the demolition of the water pump house and reservoir.
The City only has enough water under the current configuration to fight any potential fire at the airport for about an hour, council was told by city staff.
Mayor Chris Spearman, who also serves as airport committee chair, said the amended budget reflected the City’s new, uncertain, fiscal reality on the eve of a provincial budget which is expected to bring in more widespread grant cuts to municipalities.
“The funding is getting tighter from the provincial government,” Spearman stated. “We’re going to have a budget on Thursday. We’re not sure what’s going to be in that budget. If MSI funding continues to be reduced, and money flowing to municipalities continues to be reduced, we’re going to be making some difficult choices between tax increases and delaying projects. There are a number of projects where we need to make sure we’re having an honest public debate, and we’re allocating money equitably … It’s difficult to fully fund one project at the expense of others.”
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