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KID Board Seeks to Adopt New Capital Planning and Budgeting Policy

Councilors agreed that the policy is a step in the right direction to help KID establish capital plans and increase capital funding for approved capital commitments relevant to municipal service delivery, but said that it still needed to be fine-tuned before it could go to first, second and third reading.

KANANASKIS COUNTRY – A draft Capital Planning and Budgeting Policy that will help guide council decision-making on capital projects for the Kananaskis Improvement District (KID) will not be adopted until the establishment of the 2023 budget of the municipality.

Councilors agreed that the policy is a step in the right direction to help KID establish capital plans and increase capital funding for approved capital commitments relevant to municipal service delivery, but said that it still needed to be fine-tuned before it could go to first, second and third reading.

In the meantime, budget discussions are expected to begin in early December.

“Ideally it would have been done six or nine months ago – it wasn’t. So it’s not going to be a perfect orientation to our capital [budget] decisions,” said Chair Melanie Gnyp, a member of the KID Budget and Audit Committee at the November 8 board meeting.

“We always wanted to introduce it to let you know where it was going and start shaping this environment that we should think about. But that’s still ongoing in terms of developing a more solid document, with all the pieces together. .”

The policy aims to ensure board confidence in capital expenditures from reserves, grants and other capital expenditures through a standardized, flexible and rigorous decision-making process.

Following Board deliberations on the 2021 Capital Budget, the Budget and Audit Committee requested the development of the Capital Planning and Budgeting Policy.

“Historically, our budgeting and capital planning has been quite straightforward with a focus on the protective and emergency services sector, but more recently – over the last year or so – we are exploring and expanding new opportunities capital investment,” Gnyp said. “This adds complexity and the potential for competing priorities for investment dollars and administrative capacity.

“Having a policy that guides the decision based on a formal consultation agreement process and understanding responsibilities and accountabilities will hopefully streamline capital budgeting and help also to provide a level playing field for proposals.”

The design, drafting and content of the policy are influenced by similar policies adopted by neighboring and nearby municipalities and counties.

“Some [organizations] we leaned a bit more than others on Kneehill County, the Town of Banff and the Town of Canmore,” said General Manager Kieran Dowling. “Kneehill County in particular because we have heard of their ability as part of the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) – they have been successful in winning awards related to financial management. They have pretty good experience and examples to draw from.

KID’s Capital Planning and Budgeting Policy aims to respect and align with Board priorities, particularly with respect to organizational effectiveness, fiscal responsibility and sustainability.

When writing the policy, the budget and audit committee wanted a document outlining a process, tools – such as forms and goals for which KID board capital investment can be standardized by a year to the other.

Although the political expectation includes standardization, flexibility for the board is also a priority. Some advisers, however, felt that the wording was not explicit enough in the draft document.

Com. Darren Enns noted that the use of the word “shall” in some parts of the document was too restrictive to give the board the flexibility to manage capital funding, planning and financial decisions on a case-by-case basis.

The first point of the Guiding Principles for Capital Planning and Budgeting in the draft policy states that “budgets and capital plans should align with the strategic priorities of the KID Board”.

While Enns agrees that capital expenditures should align with the board’s strategic priorities, he prefers the use of the word “should” to “must” in most or all cases. , it has been referenced throughout the document.

“Every time I see the word ‘shall’ in a bill, I get anxious because it’s a pretty restrictive word. It doesn’t give you any options,” Enns said.

“The reason I like ‘should’ is because we spent money [before] on unforeseen investment elements which may not have a very strong link with a strategic priority.

Costs associated with unforeseen and urgent capital expenditures can include fixes to aging infrastructure, relevant legal requirements and growing economic uncertainty.

Com. Erum Afsar said she was pleased to see a capital projects policy presented to allow for better future planning and focused discussions at council, citing deliberations earlier in the year to purchase a quint fire engine for the center Kananaskis Emergency Services (KESC).

“I like the fact that we wanted to have a policy on capital projects,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve had any and we haven’t focused too much on capital projects.”

Afsar said it would have been helpful to have a capital planning and budgeting policy in place while initial discussions took place on the fire truck – which currently has two suppliers bidding on a request for proposal ( RFP) to add another aerial scale unit to the KESC. fleet.

“We didn’t have the means to necessarily prioritize [the project]aligning it with our strategic plan,” she said.

Afsar agreed with Enns’ points on the use of what could be seen as limiting language throughout the draft policy and said it would also like to see it amended – in particular to not inadvertently commit to one particular funding approach over another.

“I would hate if we didn’t approve capital projects because we don’t have those sources of funding. [presently],” she said. “I think we have a reality where we probably have capital projects that may be on the books but not funded, but that’s KID’s larger vision.

“As a council, that’s where we could start looking at where we could get those dollars or where we could be creative in terms of funding those projects.”

The guiding principles of capital planning and budgeting in the draft policy are described with emphasis on financial accountability, budget forecasting and contingency planning, funding methods, predictability, transparency, alternative service and program delivery, asset management, and considerations for scenarios based on the business case. .

Gnyp and Dowling, who helped create the draft policy from a former KID adviser, assured the board that the document was intended to guide decision-making only, not direct it.

The Board accepted the information as presented and directed the Budget and Audit Committee to work with management to review and make changes to the document in accordance with Board discussion.

The draft policy is expected to be returned to the board for further deliberation in early 2023.


The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. The position covers the Îyârhe (Stoney) Nakoda First Nation and the Kananaskis Country.



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