By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer
Claresholm town council has taken the first step in borrowing much of the money needed to proceed with converting the former Claresholm Elementary School building to a town hall and multi-use community building.
At its May 14 meeting, council gave first reading to a bylaw to borrow $2.8 million, after reviewing a report from administration.
That report stated that on April 23 council passed a motion to move forward with the multi-use community building project by approving the budgeted expenditure of $3.5 million for this project, which included $2.8 million of debt funding.
The actual costs of this project are still not fully known, and there will still be opportunity after the project goes out for tender, to approve or prevent the project from moving forward based on the tender prices received. However to continue forward to that point a borrowing bylaw must be passed.
The Municipal Government Act states if a project is to be funded, in whole or in part, through borrowing, a borrowing bylaw must be passed before starting the project.
After first reading of the borrowing bylaw is passed, prior to second and third reading it must be advertised for two consecutive weeks. That would be advertised on May 23 and 30 in the Claresholm Local Press, and on the town’s website, with second and third reading being presented on June 11.
This borrowing would be done through Alberta Capital Finance Authority for $2.8 million. Timing of the project is hoped to begin with asbestos remediation and engineering in the summer of 2018 and start construction in the fall of 2018. As such a Sept. 17, 2018 loan issue date would be looked at, with an application deadline of Aug. 15.
Coun. Donna Courage expressed concern about borrowing this much money without knowledge of how much the project will cost.
Mayor Doug MacPherson said the project, including financing, was laid out at the town’s recent open house.
If the tender comes in higher than budgeted, he said, then items can be cut from the project.
He emphasized if the tender comes in higher, council will have a discussion.
MacPherson also said the town cannot tender the project unless it has its “ducks in a row”, such as financing.
Courage then requested a recorded vote.
All of council voted in favour of borrowing the $2.8 million for converting the former Claresholm Elementary School building to a town hall and multi-use community building, with all of council voting in favour except Courage who was opposed.