The 2018-19 capital budget unveiled by Premier Sandy Silver is estimated at $280 million.
That represents a 10 per cent decrease from the $309 million capital estimate for the current fiscal year.
In his budget address this afternoon, Silver emphasized how his cabinet and caucus members have been doing what they can to get a sense of the issue from the community perspective; to get a sense of where the priorities lay.
“We are engaging in ways and on a scale that have not been seen before in Yukon,” the premier told the legislature.
“To get more from public dollars, we need to understand the needs in communities, the actions those communities are already taking and then the role that the territorial government can play in meeting those goals.”
The premier also unveiled a $1.2-billion operations and maintenance budget, representing a fraction of an increase from the $1.13 billion O & M estimate for the current fiscal year, which will end March 31.
The total budget estimate – O & M and capital – for the 2018-19 fiscal year is $1.5 billion. That reflects a tiny increase from the $1.44 billion estimated for the current fiscal year.
Capital commitments range from $6.8 million for a new track and field facility behind F.H. Collins Secondary School to $50,000 for the planning and design of a new Kluane Lake School for Burwash Landing.
There’s been $6 million earmarked for affordable housing, from a total of $40 million set aside for housing and new building lots.
There’s been $11.8 million identified to facilitate the construction of a redundant fibre-optic line, a project that has been talked about for years.
As it does most every year, the Department of Highways and Public Works has the largest capital budget. But the amount laid out for the 2018-19 fiscal year is a whopping 37 per cent higher than last year.
While the $2-million allotment for the Alaska Highway Shakwak project represents a reduction of more than 60 from last year, capital commitments to airports and aviation have more than doubled to $13 million.
Included in the allocation is $7.4 million for a new maintenance garage at Dawson City’s airport, along with $2.4 million to begin planning and designing a new ashphalt runway and apron.
While the capital spending for Highways and Public Works is on the rise, Health and Social Services is seeing its capital budget plummet by more than two-thirds with the scheduled completion of the Whistle Bend continuing care facility, down to $30 million for the 2018-19 fiscal year from $93 million for the current fiscal year.
Also included in budget documents this year is a forecast of capital expenditures for the upcoming five years, in keeping with the Liberal campaign commitment of 2016 to publish the forecast every year as a means of letting the contracting community know what’s in the lineup.
“Mr. Speaker, while we are very pleased with where we landed on this first plan, it is not written in stone,” Silver told the legislature.
“We will continue to work with industry to ensure that it meets their needs as well as ours.
“We will remain agile in order to meet emerging needs, and will continue to improve upon this document each year so that it better serves the public and local business.”
Under the capital works budget for 2018-19, estimates for the 10 largest departmental budgets and how they compare to last year’s estimates are as follows:
• Highways and Public Works – $114 million, up 37 per cent from last year’s $83 million;
• Community Services – $64 million, down nine per cent from last year’s $70 million;
• Yukon Housing Corp. – $31 million, up 41 per cent from last year’s $22 million;
• Education – $10 million, down 55 per cent from last year’s $22 million;
• Health and Social Services – $30 million, down 68 per cent from last year’s $93 million;
• Energy, Mines and Resources – $3 million, down 33 per cent from last year’s $4.5 million;
• Economic Development – $15 million, up 15 times last year’s $1 million;
• Justice – $5.6 million, more than double from last year’s $2.7 million;
• Tourism and Culture – $3 million, down 47 per cent from last year’s $5.7 million;
• Yukon Development Corp. – $1.5 million, the same as last year’s estimate of $1.5 million.