Preliminary readings of Colwood’s five-year financial plan have been delayed in the wake of a surprising added cost.
The city’s budget had to be adjusted by roughly $80,000 from its initial figures, nearly $76,000 of which stems from HVAC upgrades to the West Shore RCMP detachment, a building owned jointly by Langford, Colwood and View Royal.
The upgrades came as a surprise to Colwood staff and council, with the report being received after the City had arrived at its preliminary budget figures. The expenditure is pegged to come out of a reserve fund, but council was still unhappy with the late addition to this year’s financial plan.
“I just don’t know when this came up on Langford’s radar that we were that late in getting the information,” said Mayor Carol Hamilton.
“We’re looking at a five-year plan. I don’t know why the HVAC upgrades and everything were not on a five-year plan. Why is it suddenly showing up?” questioned Coun. Rob Martin.
Martin was unwilling to support the capital project until a report was received from a joint municipal committee – that body’s last two meetings were cancelled due to lack of agenda items, according to Hamilton. “(A report) should be presented to this council so that this council and the public can examine it,” Martin said.
Coun. Jason Nault put forward a successful motion that the budget item be referred to the next council meeting, with an attached report on the RCMP detachment upgrades.
Langford’s director of finance, Steve Ternent, told the Gazette that money has been set aside for small upgrades to the HVAC system at the detachment for several years, enough to replace one unit at a time. But he said it became apparent in the last six months that a significant upgrade would be needed on the building, which is now more than 15 years old.
Langford Coun. Lillian Szpak noted “the City of Langford does their budget process a little later than Colwood.” She added that they’ll make sure to adjust their process accordingly so Colwood’s timeline can be better accommodated going forward. “Now that we know, we’ll be sending any numbers like that earlier.”
The report was sent to Colwood from Langford on Mar. 13. Colwood held committee of the whole meetings concerning the budget on Mar. 1 and 2.