Council moves forward with plan to borrow $10 million

Bylaw to borrow money approved by province, now up for public feedback.

Cranbrook city council is moving forward with a plan to borrow $10 million dollars. That plan is now available for public feedback and approval.

Cranbrook city council is moving forward with a plan to borrow $10 million dollars. That plan is now available for public feedback and approval.

Cranbrook city council is forging ahead with a plan to borrow $10 million to fix local roads and underlying infrastructure.

However, it’s not official yet.

Under an Alternative Approval Process, a tool available to municipalities as laid out in the Community Charter, the public now has a chance to submit feedback that will either move the plan forward or scuttle it.

If more than 10 per cent of electors oppose the borrowing, it will not move forward. Conversely, if less than 10 per cent oppose the borrowing, the plan will move forward. A deadline for feedback to city hall has been set for Oct. 31.

“During the last election, the message was clear that residents of Cranbrook wanted their roads fixed,” said Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt. “Over the past two years, we have done a substantial amount of roadwork, dedicating nearly $4 million a year to it.

“The addition of $10 million to our continued $4 million will allow us to do some major work on 2nd St. South, as well as other streets badly in need of repair. With this borrowing, we will be able to do the equivalent of five years’ worth of roadwork in two years and show a very significant improvement in many of our city roads.”

The $10 million is currently proposed to beef up the 2017 Capital Roads Program, which would resurface roads and address priority water and sewer infrastructure. A major project forecast for next year includes a full reconstruction of 2nd St. South from Highway 3/95 through to 10th Ave. South with repaving from 10th Ave. South through to 14th Ave. South.

That particular project involvers replacement of failing underground trunk mains and pavement structure as identified in the city’s Integrated Infrastructure Capital Plan (IICP) — a report created by staff identifying aging infrastructure that prioritizes  replacement or rehabilitation work.

The plan to go to an AAP to borrow $10 million came out of budget deliberations last winter, with the AAP bylaw — the 2017 Capital Roads Program Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 3862, 2016 — given three readings by Council in June.

The bylaw had to be approved by the B.C. Inspector of Municipalities, and it was in August, before coming back to council in order to receive public approval through elector response forms.

“We realize this will result in a small increase in everyone’s taxes,” said Pratt “This increase pales in comparison to the alternative. The longer we delay, the more it is eventually going to cost, becoming burdensome to some home and business owners.”

The debt servicing costs on the borrowing won’t begin until 2018, however, there will be modest increases per $100,000 of assessed value to property taxes and water/sewer frontage taxes.

The city has a website dedicated to explaining the AAP process, including an app that will help forecast home and business owners’ tax increase.

Information packages and elector response forms are also available at city hall for pick up or download at www.cranbrook.ca/aap. Residents will also receive an information insert in their next city utility bills coming out later this month.

Additional questions and inquiries can be directed to Charlene Courtney, Deputy Director of Finance and Computer Services by calling 250-489-0203 or emailing charlene.courtney@cranbrook.ca