Cost of Northumberland roads and bridges over the next ten years
Article by Valerie MacDonald/Image by TAP
Northumberland County Council is writing the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the local MPP about funding allocations and deadlines.
Extensive discussions at the committee level have revealed that requests for extra funding, i.e. for COVID-19 assistance, have faced a long wait. When the provincial government did finally announce a total the county will receive, the deadline for dispersing the money came up very fast. Some councillors suggested the shortened deadline is so the money will be returned.
And after a lengthy discussion, again at the committee level, Northumberland County Council passed a resolution without any discussion about a decision not to waive a $550 fee for the Royal Canadian Legion, Grafton Branch. In early May, the head of the Legion’s building committee asked the County to waive the fees for repairs and renovations to replace and upgrade the washroom facilities. Terri Lyn Wright asked that a minimum of $400 be foregiven, particularly following the long-time closure of the facility due to COVID-19.
“The branch is looking at all possible avenues to open the doors as soon as possible, and any financial savings at this point is a positive,” the request letter stated. But to no avail.
Legions throughout the area have also reported financial difficulties along with the need for new members.
Council has adopted a base levy target increase of 5% for the 2023 budget year “based on estimated impacts of 8% from a blended operating and capital inflation factor” and also to target an increase of 3% for the following year (2024).
And finally, Northumberland County Councillors received and accepted a revised asset management plan for infrastructure that includes roads and bridges. It forecasts an overall “life cycle” shortfall over the next 10 years of about $92-million dollars, or about $9-million yearly, public works director Denise Marshall told councillors.
Brighton Mayor Brian Ostrander said “some of the numbers are alarming,” but now the County knows where it stands.
Port Hope Mayor Bob Sanderson noted that Ontario municipalities everywhere are required by the provincial government to undertake such asset management plans. They also need to lobby the provincial government to increase funding to meet looking after and replacing these municipally owned-and-operated assets. Despite some of the “alarming numbers” we are “in pretty good shape” and it is now up to County Council to make the hard decisions ahead, Sanderson said.
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