Referendum questions set for $5.5 million in borrowing

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
July 21st, 2011

Referendum questions to allow for $5.5 million in borrowing for infrastructure projects passed three readings at Grand Forks council on Monday night in preparation for the upcoming fall election.  Following their special meeting held on Jul. 11 where councillors reviewed the financial plan for infrastructure upgrading, two bylaws for borrowing were brought before council on Jul. 18 when they met at the Boundary Museum’s heritage site.  “The items here are a result of our decisions to go ahead with the asset management approach to infrastructure repair,” said Mayor Brian Taylor. “This will be in preparation for the approval from the Ministry that we require before this can go to referendum.”  The first is to borrow funds to install a new wellhead on the west side of the city along with equipment needed for continual water flow even in the event of an electrical failure. The total for this upgrade will be $1.3 million and it will upgrade water flow requirements to meeting the insurance industry’s standards.  The second bylaw covers the financing of renewing infrastructure in multi-utility projects combining road, water pipe, and sanitary pipe works for cost efficiency. The borrowing for these projects will be $4.2 million.  “Priorities will be given to those needs that can be combined into multi-utility projects in order to minimize construction costs,” explained Cecile Arnott, chief financial officer, in her report to council. “Priorities are based on known information and exclude annual emergencies and unknown deficiencies.”  Arnott summarized the costs of borrowing an average of $1.1 million each year at an anticipated 4.47 percent interest to impact residential users at a rate of about $25 – 40 per year. The report anticipates that the money borrowed will be recovered by levying charges to user rates and taxes over a 25-year-term.  Since council passed the bylaws, they will now proceed to the Ministry of Community and Rural Development for review and approval. Once this is complete, notices and advertisements will be posted and council may host public information sessions in advance of the referendum at the election in November.   Referendum questions:

  1. Are you in favour of the Corporation of the City of Grand Forks council adopting the City of Grand Forks Emergency Water Supply for Fire Protection Bylaw no. 1922, 2011 to authorize the borrowing of a maximum of one million and three hundred thousand dollars for Emergency Water Supply for fire flow protection requirements, using a 25-year debt term?
  2.  Are you in favour of the Corporation of the City of Grand Forks council adopting the City of Grand Forks Capital Renewal Loan Authorization Bylaw no. 1923, 2011 to authorize the borrowing of a maximum of four million and two hundred thousand dollars for capital renewal of road, water and sewer infrastructure, using a 25-year debt term? 

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