Oil price slump could hurt Calgary's capital spending plans, says Nenshi

Calgary's mayor is anxious about how much money will be available this year for infrastructure projects.

Provincial, federal governments could provide less funding than expected

There has been $55,000 in funding earmarked for Calgary's new central library this year in the city's four-year capital budget. Mayor Naheed Nenshi says some things may have to change because of the impact of low oil prices. (Calgary Municipal Land Corporation)

Calgary's mayor is anxious about how much money will be available to the city this year for infrastructure.

During the council meeting, Naheed Nenshi said he was concerned about spending on roads, bridges and other projects.

The provincial government was projecting a budget surplus for this year; however, it is now facing a $500 million deficit because of falling oil prices.

Nenshi says he worries those fiscal woes could result in less funding for capital projects in Calgary.

Ability to adjust

City manager Jeff Fielding will brief the mayor later this week on the financial impact of low oil prices. He says the city could allocate some money from the operating budget to the capital side if needed.

He also said there may be a potential for some savings in not filling vacancies in the city's workforce.

About 10 per cent of the city's workforce is on limited term contracts and another five per cent of its jobs are currently vacant. 

"That gives us some flexibility in terms of how we can adjust throughout the year and make some adjustments on the fly," he said.

"I'm not recommending at this point that we freeze hiring. I want to get a better handle in terms of where that's going so you do know that we have the ability to adjust."


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