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Conversations about service expectations to come as County creates asset management plan

The municipality has completed the first of a multi-year requirement to inventory its assets – as required by the provincial government – in a move toward standardization and the creation of asset management plans (AMP).

The bottom line for councillors viewing the document at Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting was that there is far more money needed, than is being collected by the municipality.

CAO Marcia Wallace noted the AMP will help council make better informed decisions and going forward, there will need to be conversations about service expectations with the new council prior to staff commencing budget planning.

She noted tax-paying population growth will not solve all the financial needs as more people will also result in more need for services.

The problem, she said, is a common one among municipalities, especially in small, rural communities.

The July 1, 2022 deadline required a plan for core infrastructure assets including water, wastewater and stormwater assets, roads, bridges and culverts noting costs for current levels of service and to maintain those levels.

July 2024 is the deadline for a plan for all municipal assets, and 2025 is to show the shift from current levels of service to proposed levels of service and related lifecycle management, with a financial strategy.

A summary of replacement costs for local infrastructure includes:
• Roads – Length of roads 1,047 km, replacement cost of $694,807,478

• Bridges – Number of bridges 63, replacement cost of $46,258,378

• Water – Length of water mains 111 km, 11 facilities, replacement cost of
$180,349,445

• Wastewater – Length of wastewater mains 49 km, 12 facilities, replacement cost
of $101,239,750

The AMP update details the County’s current approach to lifecycle management for its core assets, as well as costs to maintain the current levels of service. For example, the average annual expenditures are estimated at $16.8 million for roads and bridges, $7.9 million for water services, and $3.1 million for wastewater services to maintain the current level of service.

Future AMP updates are to provide suggested lifecycle management for all infrastructure assets, not just core assets, – including parks and recreation, buildings, fire services and technology resources.

This data will be utilized as the primary source for capital planning for 2023-2027 and will also impact the financial planning required for capital reserves, which are the primary source of funding for the capital plan.

As of 2022, the County had a permanent population of approximately 25,258 (excluding a census undercount). Employment data from the 2021 census are not yet available, however the County had estimated employment of 7,217 in 2018. The County also had an estimated seasonal population of 7,475 in 2018. Based on the County’s 2021 Official Plan, by 2038, permanent population is anticipated to reach 26,709, seasonal population is anticipated to reach 12,125, and employment is anticipated to reach 8,750.
This growth in population (both permanent and seasonal) and employment is also expected
to result in incremental service demands that will impact levels of service.

Filed Under: Local News

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