INFRASTRUCTURE projects in Carmarthenshire like new schools and a new Llanelli Leisure Centre are expected to cost £127 million in 2021-22.
The county council will fund £63.8 million of this sum, if capital spending proposals are approved, through borrowing, the sale of land and buildings, reserves and grants.
The budget proposals will go out to public consultation until February 3.
The capital budget proposals include £13.9 million of council funding towards a leisure centre at the planned Pentre Awel wellness and life science complex at Delta Lakes, Llanelli, and £2.3 million for the refurbishment of Llandeilo Market Hall.
There is £2.45 million for upgrades of two council buildings – Carmarthen’s County Hall and Llanelli’s Ty Elwyn – £860,000 for the revamp of the Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Carmarthen, and £300,000 to realign the eroded coast path at Morfa Bacas, Bynea.
Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, who has the culture, sport and tourism portfolio, welcomed the proposals, adding: “I very much hope our leisure centres open very soon.”
Just over £13 million of council money is earmarked for school projects, including the new Ysgol Gorslas.
Meanwhile, £1 million is proposed to tackle some water seepage at Trebeddrod reservoir near Furnace, Llanelli.
A further £1 million is proposed for ten rural towns to help boost their economies.
But the Plaid Cymru-Independent administration plans to cut funding for the Towy Valley cycle path between Carmarthen and Llandeilo until more grants are obtained from the Welsh Government, although council chiefs said they remained committed to the project.
Opposition leader, Cllr Rob James, said he believed some of the “nice to have” capital projects should be pushed back a year to free up money to support local residents, with more money held in reserves also used for this purpose.
Council leader Emlyn Dole said you could not take money from capital projects to fund revenue spending, and that using money from reserves would be “perilous” because they were only just below the recommended level.
“The county’s recovery plan also looks to the future and future-proofing recovery means that vital capital funds are needed to ensure that we can not only safeguard jobs and employment but that we can also look to future regeneration as we emerge from the pandemic,” said Cllr Dole.