By Barb McKay
The township will likely need to raise taxes and service rates annually to help cover the cost of replacing its assets over the long-term.
Huron-Kinloss received its asset management plan, completed and analyzed by Public Sector Digest. The report indicates that the township’s total assets, including buildings, roads, bridges and water and sewer systems have a replacement value of $190 million.
The township received a ‘C’ grade point average for its asset management plan, based on the current condition of its assets and its ability to finance them, and it carries an annual infrastructure deficit of $870,000.
According to the report, the township is over funding its road network, but meets less than one per cent of the annual infrastructure requirements for the sanitary sewer network.
Roads, bridges, culverts and storm sewers are being funded at a rate of 98 per cent and the asset management plan recommendations include increasing residential taxes by 0.7 per cent annually and allocating $200,000 in gas tax revenue annually to bridge and culvert work.
The report shows that $1.2 million is needed annually for water and sanitary sewer services, but the annual revenue allocated to the capital budget for those services is $379,000. The plan recommends increasing sewer service rates by 7.5 per cent annually for the next 20 years and water rates by 3.6 per cent annually for the next 10 years.
However, the report noted that Huron-Kinloss has $4.5 million in reserves that could be used towards the future replacement of the township’s assets, reducing the burden on taxpayers.
In her report to council last Monday, treasurer Jodi MacArthur said the recommendations are not unrealistic.
“On a positive note, I feel that the majority of the recommendations contained in the report are reasonable and achievable. Some of the gaps in the condition of the assets already exist in different industry reports and we will be working to update our database and improve the quality of the data.”