District of Houston office file photo

District carries over unfinished projects

Part of the planning for the coming year

District of Houston council members and District staff are narrowing in on the base budget and other planned expenditures for 2021 but they are also moving over budgeted projects from last year that weren’t completed or even started.

It’s a 30-project list which includes the District’s ongoing and extensive multi-year plan to improve sidewalks, lighting and other upgrades along Hwy16 as it passes alongside the downtown core and the work to replace underground services within the downtown core to revitalize the surface with new roads, sidewalks and visual improvements.

If the District has a long range infrastructure improvement plan, it also wants to improve how information is presented on highway and in-town signs. A $125,000 budget approved in 2020 remains unspent to date.

The project list also includes other long-range infrastructure improvements on the District’s ‘to do’ list. One of those is a new firehall with the district now having commissioned a design. The budget for that is $40,000 and $22,911 remains to be paid out.

A new rescue truck for the fire department was ordered more than a year ago but an expected delivery of last year has now been delayed to sometime this year. That’s also pushed back the District’s payment schedule so that it still has to pay $262,007 to complete the purchase of the $386,923 vehicle.

Also on the planning list, with monies assigned but not paid, are designs for an eventual new community hall, and a master plan for a revitalized Jamie Baxter Park.

Guiding the District’s long-range plans for its infrastructure and other facilities is an asset management plan which is to cost $240,000 with $204,388 yet to be paid out.

Completely unspent from 2020 is $200,000 set aside for playground safety upgrades and heat pump replacements for the leisure facility’s pool, budgeted at $100,000, have yet to take place.

One public works budget, building facility to accept large amounts of sewage and provide large quantities of water and being partially financed by the company running the Coastal GasLink work camp south of Houston, remains unfinished. That has a budget of $388,972 and $213,528 remains unspent.

As well, the District still has to pay $11,000 to close off payments for a housing needs assessment report commissioned in 2019, money for which was not budgeted in 2020. It will be paid for by the 2020 base budget surplus.

Also unbudgeted is the $41,175 spent last year to connect the arena’s refrigeration system with the adjacent curling rink.

The District, however, is lending the curling rink that money over 20 years and as such is regarded as an asset because it will be recovered.

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