Spending is up by 11.8 per cent in the 2020 United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) budget, and the capital project budget is up 51.3 per cent. The 2019 capital budget was $11,249,000 and it is $20,056,800 for 2020.
The new Prescott-Russell Residence project, a new welcome centre for the Larose Forest, and road improvements are the main reasons for the significant increases in capital spending.
Capital projects are improvements, additions or expansions governments make to existing facilities, or are completely new facilities. The maintenance of existing facilities, regular functions of government, and staff salaries are part of the operations budget.
The UCPR is preparing to build the new residence on vacant property on Spence Avenue in Hawkesbury. On November 27, UCPR council approved an increased construction budget for the new facility which is expected to cost $8,119,664 per year for 25 years. The Prescott-Russell Residence capital budget has soared from $2,063,000 in 2019 to $11,518,000 in 2020.
The capital budget for public works is increasing by more than $3 million. In 2019, it was $6,892,200 and is $10,038,300 for 2020. The major public works projects are a new bridge on County Road 6 in Russell, a new culvert on County Road 9 near St-Isidore, a new culvert on County Road 8, and paving on County Roads 15 and 28.
A new welcome centre for visitors to the Larose Forest will be constructed in 2020, along with other improvements to the forest’s facilities. As a result, the capital budget for the forest has increased to $665,000 for 2020 from a 2019 amount of $160,000.
The emergency services capital budget has also increased from $362,000 in 2019 to $602,000 for 2020. According to Director of Emergency Services Marc-André Périard, the department will be purchasing three new ambulances, a new Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV), and doing paving work at its Plantagenet station in 2020.