The first flood mitigation work since before 2013 is close to getting underway in Drumheller, but town council is divided on how to pay for it.
Administration drew up two borrowing bylaws for the August 21 council meeting to cover work in Midland, Newcastle and Central Drumheller. However, one of them was defeated in a vote, while the other one was tabled for a later meeting.
"Administration was just finishing off with the borrowing component of it to give council the option," explained Mayor Terry Yemen. "We talked about the one in Central and it was defeated, there's no option now. Going forward, the area around the BCF, just under $500,000 would be the town's responsibility, so that will have to come out of the reserves."
Yemen and Deputy Mayor Sharel Shoff voted in favour of the borrowing bill, but were defeated by a vote of 3-2.
"I don't know if this council is going to make the ultimate decision on those projects," admitted the mayor. "It may be a new council is going to make the decision if there should be borrowing or it should be out of reserves, so it would have been nice to give them an option."
"We're sitting with a healthy reserve, the Town of Drumheller, we're looking at around $16 million in our reserve," noted Yemen. "You can use out of the reserves and use out of the reserves as long as it doesn't start to rain , but then if it does you've got to have that money there."
He pointed to the City of Calgary, which once had a rainy day fund of more than $300 million, which has shrunk in recent years to $30-40 million.
The Midland and Newcastle flood mitigation borrowing bylaw is expected to be brought back to the next meeting of council on September 5.