Nova Scotia

CBRM's preliminary capital budget boosts spending to $75M

Cape Breton Regional Municipality's increased capital spending is thanks in part to extra funding from the Nova Scotia government.

Mayor says draft budget will go out for public input before coming back to council for approval

Cape Breton Regional Municipality's draft capital budget for the coming year is set at $75 million, which is $25 million more than last year. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Capital spending in Cape Breton Regional Municipality is expected to rise significantly this year, thanks in part to extra funding from the Nova Scotia government.

CBRM council reviewed draft operating and capital budgets this week and is projecting $75 million in capital spending for such things as roads, sewer and water infrastructure, buildings and transit buses.

That's about $25 million more than last year.

Mayor Amanda McDougall said getting an extra $15 million this year from the province for its municipal capacity grant helped.

"You will see a smattering of it … in the various proposed budgets from the various departments," she told Mainstreet Cape Breton on Friday, after three days of preliminary budget talks ended.

The municipality hasn't formally decided what to do with the money, but about $7.6 million will go toward CBRM's debt, according to proposals.

Mayor Amanda McDougall says the budget is boosted by some large sewer and water infrastructure projects that come with federal-provincial funding at no cost to CBRM. (Cape Breton Regional Municipality/Zoom)

Another $3 million is being set aside for a new downtown Sydney library and $2 million is for an expansion of the Centre 200 arena.

The rest will be used for road paving, parks and grounds and improvement to the air quality at city hall.

Several large sewer and water infrastructure projects also come with federal-provincial funding at no cost to CBRM, McDougall said.

"You'll see things like our wastewater treatment infrastructure projects," she said.

"A lot of those projects, there's no municipal contribution to that, so we have projects on the books that we're not putting any of our own money in, but that is part of our budget."

The draft budget includes $21 million for the Sydney Harbour West waste treatment project. According to the plan, $3.5 million of that will come from the CBRM water utility and the rest is being funded by the federal and provincial governments.

There's also $8.5 million slated for wastewater upgrades in Glace Bay and Port Morien, funded entirely by the other levels of government.

An artist's rendering of the proposed redevelopment of Charlotte Street in Sydney's downtown commercial district. (Cape Breton Regional Municipality)

The draft also includes $8 million to fix roads, nearly $2.9 million to pave gravel roads and $1 million for sidewalks.

It also contains $3 million for part of the Charlotte Street revitalization in downtown Sydney and $1.3 million for the Louisbourg waterfront.

Council also reviewed a proposed operating budget with $161.4 million in expected revenues from taxes and other sources. That's up almost $4 million — or 2.5 per cent — over last year.

CBRM is expected to seek public input over the next month or so and then bring both budgets back to council for approval in April.

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With files from Mainstreet Cape Breton

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