Mayor's White Board

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Mayor Todd Kasenberg's Blog Issue 5

Understanding the Big (Capital) Projects In North Perth’s Medium Range Future

On the white board in my office, I keep a short list of projects that I expect lie ahead for our community. Some of these are new initiatives that will spark appropriate growth, some are remedies for infrastructure that is deteriorating past the point of maintenance recovery, and some are essential upgrades to accommodate the growth we’ve seen and the impacts on service capacity.

I feel it important for my fellow residents of North Perth to get a sense of what lies ahead. The list has me anxious, because the collective cost is about the same as the total property tax revenues received by the municipality over a two year period. That’s right, I said two years – if we were to shut down our government to completely pay for these reasonable and in some cases necessary projects, we’d need to be closed for two years!

Municipalities have a pretty small revenue toolbox. We can tax. We can charge user fees. We can get money from other levels of government. Or we can borrow an amount today, and pay it off as a loan over time (which ultimately still requires us to tax). Needless to say, over the years, and through a variety of programs, other levels of government haven’t been sufficiently forthcoming with funds to meet what is a growing infrastructure deficit. An infrastructure deficit (or gap) exists when we let infrastructure deteriorate and don’t maintain or repair these items in a reasonable timeframe. That this happens is not surprising, since municipal politicians are left on the hook for some big costs (roads and bridges), but face a weary taxpayer base wanting taxes kept low(ish). The easy solution is just to delay and delay these projects so that we don’t have to make the hard decision to tax more.

Here is that short list on my white board.

Project
Explanation
Approximate Investment
Albert Street Drain
Installation of new storm drain works to ease water problems in the north-west area of Listowel and increase capacity to handle storm water. Upgrades to existing infrastructure, including sidewalk on Binning St.
$5 Million
North East Master Plan (NEMP)
Installation of water, sanitary and storm water management for existing and new development lands in the north-east of Listowel.
Phased project, current total estimate is $18 Million
Line 84 Reconstruction
Widening and repaving of Line 84 as part of Listowel Downtown bypass
$3 Million
Line 87 Roundabout
Ministry of Transportation (MTO – provincial) Project - Installation of roundabout and potential road widening of Line 87 west of Wallace as part of Listowel Downtown bypass
Undetermined - timeline and costs will be determined by Province
New Swimming Pool in Listowel Memorial Park
The current pool is nearing end of life, and has been in service for more than 50 years; accessibility upgrades must be made before 2025 to comply with provincial legislation
$3 Million
Main Street Atwood
Refurbishment associated with planned provincial renovation of Hwy 23, including sidewalks, light standards, water main
$2.5 Million
Core Downtown Road Renewal Listowel
Installation of new storm sewers, infrastructure, paving of several blocks in area adjacent to Wallace and Main
At least $10 Million



Mayor Todd Kasenberg's Blog Issue 5

Understanding the Big (Capital) Projects In North Perth’s Medium Range Future

On the white board in my office, I keep a short list of projects that I expect lie ahead for our community. Some of these are new initiatives that will spark appropriate growth, some are remedies for infrastructure that is deteriorating past the point of maintenance recovery, and some are essential upgrades to accommodate the growth we’ve seen and the impacts on service capacity.

I feel it important for my fellow residents of North Perth to get a sense of what lies ahead. The list has me anxious, because the collective cost is about the same as the total property tax revenues received by the municipality over a two year period. That’s right, I said two years – if we were to shut down our government to completely pay for these reasonable and in some cases necessary projects, we’d need to be closed for two years!

Municipalities have a pretty small revenue toolbox. We can tax. We can charge user fees. We can get money from other levels of government. Or we can borrow an amount today, and pay it off as a loan over time (which ultimately still requires us to tax). Needless to say, over the years, and through a variety of programs, other levels of government haven’t been sufficiently forthcoming with funds to meet what is a growing infrastructure deficit. An infrastructure deficit (or gap) exists when we let infrastructure deteriorate and don’t maintain or repair these items in a reasonable timeframe. That this happens is not surprising, since municipal politicians are left on the hook for some big costs (roads and bridges), but face a weary taxpayer base wanting taxes kept low(ish). The easy solution is just to delay and delay these projects so that we don’t have to make the hard decision to tax more.

Here is that short list on my white board.

Project
Explanation
Approximate Investment
Albert Street Drain
Installation of new storm drain works to ease water problems in the north-west area of Listowel and increase capacity to handle storm water. Upgrades to existing infrastructure, including sidewalk on Binning St.
$5 Million
North East Master Plan (NEMP)
Installation of water, sanitary and storm water management for existing and new development lands in the north-east of Listowel.
Phased project, current total estimate is $18 Million
Line 84 Reconstruction
Widening and repaving of Line 84 as part of Listowel Downtown bypass
$3 Million
Line 87 Roundabout
Ministry of Transportation (MTO – provincial) Project - Installation of roundabout and potential road widening of Line 87 west of Wallace as part of Listowel Downtown bypass
Undetermined - timeline and costs will be determined by Province
New Swimming Pool in Listowel Memorial Park
The current pool is nearing end of life, and has been in service for more than 50 years; accessibility upgrades must be made before 2025 to comply with provincial legislation
$3 Million
Main Street Atwood
Refurbishment associated with planned provincial renovation of Hwy 23, including sidewalks, light standards, water main
$2.5 Million
Core Downtown Road Renewal Listowel
Installation of new storm sewers, infrastructure, paving of several blocks in area adjacent to Wallace and Main
At least $10 Million



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