UXBRIDGE: During recent discussions surrounding the 2014 municipal budget, a pair of long-term funding proposals have been brought forward to deal with the upkeep of township roads and replacement of the fire department’s vehicle fleet.
A joint report from Public Works Director Ben Kester and Treasurer Al Schultz outlined the specifics of an asset management strategy for maintaining township roadways.
If eventually passed by council, the proposal would see the township impose a one per cent levy beginning in next year, and increasing by one per cent each year until at least 2018 for capital maintenance projects.
During the budget discussions, Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor motioned that the one per cent increase for next year - roughly $80,000 to $90,000 be put into a reserve fund earmarked for roads projects. Deputy Treasurer Donna Condon added that a roads reserve fund does not presently exist.
"The sooner you put it in, the better off you’ll be," commented Mr. Kester.
Ward 5 Councillor Gord Highet questioned the move, as it would see projects deferred in favour of establishing the reserve fund for roads.
"I understand what we’re trying to do here, but are you robbing Peter to pay Paul? If you’ve identified a road that needs work, it doesn’t make sense to pull money back out of the budget," said Councillor Highet.
As well, Mr. Kester made several budget cuts last week, including taking out $126,000 earmarked for a culvert project on Davis Dr. after a grant request from the municipality was denied by the province.
The ongoing Brock St. culvert flood alleviation project had its contribution cut in half, from $200,000 down to $100,000. Mr. Kester added that a request for proposal for the detailed design of the $10 million project will be going out in early 2014.
Meanwhile, as the fire department prepares to move to a new hall in the near future, Condon and Fire Chief Scott Richardson pitched a plan that would see $200,000 set aside for vehicle replacement for the next 20 years.
"We tried to come up with a strategy to limit large fluctuations in future capital budgets," Condon explained. "The first ten years of the plan will be very tough because a lot of vehicles will unfortunately have to be replaced."
According to Chief Richardson, the last six years of the funding plan would be building a reserve fund to replace fire vehicles in the future.
"The whole idea of the process is to build a flat line, so we don’t have large peaks in vehicle replacement costs," added Chief Richardson.
To combat a funding shortfall, a new pumper truck for the fire department will be budgeted over the next two years.
The municipality will pay $200,000 in 2014, and a further $275,000 in 2015 when the department receives the new pumper.
As well, Richardson explained that the purchase of a new tanker for the fire department hinges upon completion of the new fire hall, as the vehicle will not fit in the current fire hall on Bascom St.