Champlain scores “F” on infrastructure test RICHARD MAHONEY

The average annual investment require- ment for sanitary services and water servic- es is $1,128,000. Annual revenue currently allocated to these assets for capital pur- poses is $30,000, leaving an annual deficit of $1,098,000. To put it another way, these infrastructure categories are currently fund- ed at 3% of their long-term requirements. In 2013, Champlain had annual sanitary services revenues of $702,000 and annual water revenues of $612,000. A ten-year suggested funding plan in- cludes reallocating the expected debt cost reductions between 2013-2017 of $123,000 for sanitary services to the applicable infra- structure deficit; increasing rate revenues by 8.9% for sanitary services and 5.7% for water services each year for the next 10 years solely for the purpose of phasing in full funding of the AMP; increasing infra- structure budgets by the inflation index on an annual basis in addition to the deficit phase-in.

PLEASANT CORNER | Like many of its neighbours, Champlain Township has re- ceived a low grade for its investment in infrastructure, scoring an “F” on its asset management plan. The replacement value of township in- frastructure is $115.3 million, or $69,367 per household, reads the assessment, re- lating the municipality, which has an infra- structure deficit of $1.63 million, received an “F” on its infrastructure “report card.” Most municipalities in the district have receivedmarks of“D”,“E”and“F,”said Cham- plain chief administrator Jean Thériault at a recent meeting. The evaluation “is telling us what we already know,” he added. “We don’t have money to replace our infra- structure.” Municipalities are required by the On- tario government to prepare such evalua- tions in order to qualify for provincial support of improvements. This is the prov- ince’s way of justifying high municipal tax increases, said Mayor Gary Barton.“This is a weapon they can use against us.” The report was prepared by the Public Sector Digest that studied the state of in- frastructure and the township’s financial capacity to “fund the average annual re- quirement for sustainability,” producing a funding versus need score. Champlain’s highest grade, D, was as- signed to its roads network, for which the municipality is funding less than 50 per cent of the annual requirements. For each of the remaining four sectors, a grade of F was assigned. The municipality is funding less than four per cent of its annual needs for the sanitary sewage network, and nothing for bridges, culverts, water, and storm sewers. Champlain got an A for the condition of its bridges and culverts and B for the state of its roads. “Despite the high grade, a number of roads that are currently in fair to excellent condition will require replacement as their deterioration accelerates precipitously over the next five years. This will generate a total backlog requirement of approxi- mately $9.5 million,” the report cautioned. Most water and storm sewers, however, are in “poor to critical condition.” Most wa- ter facilities are “fair.” All pipes in the storm sewer collection network are in “critical condition.” The average annual investment require- ment for paved roads, bridges, culverts and storm sewers is $901,000. Annual rev- enue currently allocated to these assets is $369,000, leaving an annual deficit of $532,000, or this infrastructure is currently funded at 41 per cent of its long-term re- quirements. Champlain had annual tax revenues of $3,761,000 in 2013. A proposed ten-year funding plan in- cludes allocating the $266,000 of gas tax revenue to paved roads; increasing tax revenues by 1.4 per cent each year for the next 10 years solely for the purpose of phasing in full funding of the AMP; increasing infrastructure budgets by the inflation rate each year.

Jean Thériault

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