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Council looking forward to putting $10 million to use

City eager to get projects lined up now that AAP process is done.
Council looking forward to putting $10 million loan to use for upgrading Cranbrook roads and infrastructure.

Cranbrook council reaffirmed it's decision to borrow $10 million through an alternative approval process (AAP) on Monday evening, as they made the final results public.

Mayor Lee Pratt noted that there were 814 elector response forms filed, 803 of which were eligible. The measure needed 1,499 elector response forms in order to grind the process to a halt.

The $10 million is currently being budgeted for the 2017 roads program, of which roughly $7 million will go towards the complete reconstruction of 2nd St. South from Highway 3/95 to 10th Ave. with repaving from 10th Ave to 14th Ave.

The remainder will go into other local road paving projects.

"The $10 million wasn't just a figure pulled out of the air, there was a lot of planning put into that and what's going to come out of it," Pratt said. "It wasn't just a $10 million fix we dreamed up, we put some planning in place and planning for down the road. It fits into more, not this year, but a five to six year plan."

Councillor Tom Shypitka said he was happy with the AAP process.

"There were some concerned citizens that had some issues with the spending of this money and the borrowing of this money and I think through that AAP we were able to get some clarity through to our citizens," Sypitka said.

Projects will be determined by a prioritization system laid out in an asset management plan developed by the city.

"Just to be aware, this isn't the end of it," said Councillor Ron Popoff. "We do have that one percent annual uptick on our taxes for road and infrastructure. The reality in the future is that maybe not this council but another one real soon, there's probably going to be a need to go and do some other borrowing.

"We do have quite a deficit in our road and infrastructure and it's something to be aware of that this wasn't a one-time deal."

While Councillor Wes Graham said he was happy to see the AAP approved in order to tackle the $70 million infrastructure deficit, he clarified that he would be leery of borrowing again for the future, when the city should use existing funds and pursue government grants.