The City of Kenora has its work cut out for them. Councillor Louis Roussin talks about their approach to getting caught up on maintenance for roads and bridges.
"You can't be in a proactive position, where you only deal with the worst first. You have to think about preventive maintenance programs to extend your other assets, which are beyond their life expectancy, and that's not an easy task. It's going to put a lot of pressure on our senior management team," he said.
During a presentation last week, a consultant recommended a dedicated tax hike, in order to help close a $57 million dollar shortfall in repairs. Council will meet tomorrow, in order to debate their capital spending plans for 2017.
"When you're dealing with asset management plans, and operational reviews dealing with asset management plans, there's always risk. The risk is delaying. The longer you delay and you get yourself into the five to 10 year remaining life expectancy of any asset, that's when your operating costs get higher," Roussin said.
In order to get caught up on maintenance, consultants suggest a tax hike of a little more than one per cent for the next 20 years. They also recommend further rate hikes of about four per cent for water rates, and another two per cent for waste water over the next five years. Councillor Roussin described it as an 'eye opening' experience.
Three years ago, there was so much damage to the city's water system, council decided to issue a boil water advisory for the whole community. Councillors are hopeful there will be federal and provincial grants to help defer maintenance costs. Kenora spent more than $70 million on infrastructure between 2000 and 2004, but still remains more than $50 million behind.
In order to help reduce the infrastructure deficit, Ontario has pledged $160 billion over 12 years. Ottawa has pledged $125 billion over 10 years.
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