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PEC budget part one approved with $85.1M capital budget

Prince Edward County councillors have adopted an $85.1 million capital budget for 2023 following three days of talks at the Highline Hall in Wellington.

The capital budget pays for the repair, construction, and replacement of roads, bridges, emergency vehicles, and other assets. The operating budget portion will be discussed later this month, (Feb. 22-24) followed by confirmation of the final tax levy.

“I commend council and staff for working together to develop a capital plan that prioritizes the most critical work, while respecting the fiscal constraints that we face,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson. “Investing in municipal assets each year is critical so that we can continue to best serve the community.”

Council gave its support to the $64.9 H.J. McFarland Memorial Home redevelopment project and will further discuss at month end as the majority of the project needs to be financed. It hopes to take advantage of $42.2 million in “accelerator incentive” provincial funding, provided design can reach a substantive stage by August 2023. The balance of the project would be funded through development charges, long-term debt and donations.

Council approved more than $10 million in road work and improvements, including the next phase of the Picton Main Street reconstruction from Johnson to Spencer streets. The road reconstruction portion of the project is $5.9 million, while the water and wastewater work portion is $6.4 million.

In addition, council began the process of creating a working group to strategize and advocate for the rehabilitation of County Road 49, including meeting with the appropriate provincial and federal ministry representatives.

Other roads and bridge projects include the Loyalist Parkway Bridge rehabilitation ($1.760,792); Burr Road bridge rehabilitation ($845,012); Salmon Point, County Road 18 intersection improvements ($50,353); a sidewalks from Union to Pine Ridge ($152,529); Picton Elks Street retaining wall ($97,299); a traffic calming budget of $84,461; Picton town hill intersection improvements ($807,318); Cold Storage Road drainage ($275,425); North Street storm sewer ($150,000) and Division/Broad drainage improvements ($62,644).

Additional highlights from the 2023 capital budget include:
– $3.0 million for rural road surface maintenance program
– $102,000 for improving pedestrian access to the beach system at Huyck’s Point Road north to Arthur Road with further enhancements if the municipality receives a federal funding application.
– $215,000 to improve several municipal buildings and facilities such as accessibility upgrades, modernized audio-visual equipment, roof replacements, and minor foundation repairs.
– $650,000 for the replacement of a fire pumper tanker; $469,500 for a road sweeper; $409,000 for six light-duty vehicles; $397,276 for a replacement tandem axel truck with winter implements; $352,000 for a replacement single axel truck and winter implements; a replacement wheel loader for $308,000; a land ambulance for$224,000; a mechanic vehicle for $95,000 and a light-duty truck for $75,000, both for the fire department.
– $358,000 for the Sandy Hook and Sophiasburgh storage dome repairs
– $315,000 for phase two of the Crystal Palace restoration
– $75,000 for the Bloomfield Town Hall accessibility ramp and $55,000 for the roof replacement at Benson Hall in Picton.

Council also directed staff to review the multi-year plan for replacing fire fleet and bring a revised plan back to council in the second quarter of 2023.

Council will review the proposed 2023 operating budget February 22-24, during which time it will confirm the final tax levy. The proposed operating budget is to be published by Feb. 16.

The municipality pays for capital work through:
Reserves, the municipality’s “savings accounts” where tax dollars are set aside each year for future costs, development charges and other growth-related revenue, funding from other levels of governments, tourism-related revenue collected through the Municipal Accommodation Tax and long-term debt.

Council also approved the water and wastewater capital budget of $25.1 million. Of this budget, $8.2 million is set aside for the construction in Wellington of new sewermain trunks.

A majority of the water and wastewater budget is debt financed. There is no additional impact to the rate-supported 2023 operating budget or water rates due to debt repayment because of up-front financing agreements.

Council also passed a motion to explore the establishment of a water and wastewater committee for the purpose of oversight and input for the next rate study to cover the period of 2026-2031. Staff is to bring forward terms of reference for council to review later in 2023.

Filed Under: Local News

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