June 27, 2016

Public Invited To Participate In Alternative Approval Process (AAP) Exercise Beginning in September

Cranbrook, BC (June 27, 2016) -- Council gave three readings to the 2017 Capital Roads Program Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 3862, 2016 on Monday night.  Council now waits for the go ahead from the BC Inspector of Municipalities to undertake an alternative approval process (AAP) where residents will determine whether or not to borrow $10 million to expand the capital roads program in Cranbrook in 2017. 

Under the Community Charter a loan authorization bylaw like this one can only be adopted with the approval of the electors, through either the AAP or a full referendum.  The AAP is a tool for municipalities to provide electors an opportunity to express if they are not in agreement with the proposed borrowing.

Through this past winter’s budget process, Council approved an expanded roads program in 2017, which included the borrowing of $10 million which should allow for a more significant road program while renewing the underlying water and sewer infrastructure.   Exactly which streets will benefit from the possible borrowing is still being finalized by the City’s engineering department and will need final approval by Council. Staff is using a series of water, storm, sanitary sewer and road priority plans and the City’s Integrated Infrastructure Capital Plan (IICP) to make those decisions.

“If ever there is to be any gain made on our roads and our water, storm sewer and sanitary sewer infrastructure in town the timing is perfect,” Mayor Pratt says.  “Interest rates are low; now is the time to act.”

The proposed $10 million to be borrowed would be added to the $4.1 million already budgeted for road work bringing the total anticipated road budget to $14,116,900 for 2017.  The impact this borrowing would have on the regular taxpayer is expected to be as follows:

That is a relatively low amount considering what people pay monthly for their cell phone or TV packages, Mayor Pratt says.

“The reality of the situation is that a lot of our roads and the underground services are 50 years old or more and they have simply worn out and must be replaced,” Pratt says.  “The longer we delay the more it is eventually going to cost.  Ignoring this problem has not helped and we must formulate a plan to replace it.  This is the first step of a new approach to rectifying this situation and it must be implemented sooner rather than later.”

Staff is hopeful to have approval of the bylaw from the BC Inspector of Municipalities for the August 15 regular meeting of Council, at which time administration will present the final public information package and set all the necessary requirements and deadlines for the AAP.

Residents will be able to state their opposition through the use of an elector response form.  Copies of the elector response forms will be made available at City Hall or through the City’s website.  Starting in late August or very early September, notices of the alternative approval process will be published in the local papers, on the City’s website and public information will be shared through the City social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  

In order to help residents and business owners better understand the impact the potential borrowing would have on their taxes, staff is creating an online tool, where you can easily find your additional tax costs based on your assessed property value.

“I hope the citizens of Cranbrook approve of this borrowing,” Pratt says.  “Paying a small increase in taxes now pales in comparison to the alternative.  If we continue to do nothing, future taxes required to fix this problem will become burdensome to some home and business owners.”

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