Belleville wrapped up its first day of a two-day capital budget debate with no real movement in the budget total or the tax increase percentage.
City council began the day with the city’s bridges taking up most of the discussion and ended it with a lengthy debate on the escalating cost of the newly-developed public services facility at 31 Wallbridge Crescent.
In the budget was $1.7 million pre-approved and also a Phase 2 project at another $3.2 million for the Wallbridge facility. This brings the total for the project, nearing $7 million.
Councillor Kelly McCaw, who voted against it, said she felt she has “been misled about this project and it’s unfortunate we’ve been tied to it.”
Mayor Taso Christopher said “this is a democracy” and the city is getting two facilities for less than a neighbouring one (referring to the $20 million Quinte West public works building.)
Councillor Paul Carr noted the price “continued to creep up and council never got the final figure until today.”
Council approved the reconstruction of the Catherine Street pedestrian bridge, voting six to three in favour, turning down a bid to have it moved to a different location.
City Property Manager Joel Carr Brant explained Wallbridge Crescent is “at the bottom of a hill and water runs down to the property and the front is like a lake.”
The extra money extends landscaping in the area.
Councillor Paul Carr objected to the price increase but voted for the project.
In connection with the $2.5 million new Catherine Street pedestrian footbridge over the Moira River in the city centre, Councillor Mitch Panciuk called for its location to be moved south.
Engineering Manager Ray Ford told council the tender could go out in January with construction beginning in June, because of water construction restrictions in the spring.
Council approved the reconstruction plan, voting six to three in favour, turning down a bid to have it moved to a different location.
Councillors Panciuk, McCaw and Paul Carr voted against.
Reconstruction work on the Latta Bridge was approved.
Mayor Taso Christopher raised the possibility of making the Upper Bridge on Front Street, in the downtown, a pedestrian bridge when it goes for design work. Staff indicated this would be considered. Christopher pointed out motorized traffic entry to the city came through the Sagonaska Bridge which is a connecting link.
Reconstruction and design work for the Sagonaska Bridge on Pinnacle Street were approved, as were plans to synchronize 16 traffic lights on Sidney Street, North Front and Bell Boulevard.
The capital budget sits at $26.4 million, with a 2.5 % tax increase.
Debate continues on Wednesday.