Budget 2017 Chapter 3 Print Article Font Size

Council addresses asset renewal and reserves with proposed five-year financial plan

IMG_0705-(1).JPGLike other municipalities across the province – and country – Golden faces aging infrastructure and limited funding for its renewal and replacement. According to Asset Management BC (AMBC), the key challenge facing local governments with respect to asset management is their limited financial resources.

That is one of the reasons why Council has taken the bold step of increasing our budget 6.5% this year to begin meaningfully addressing this significant and nation-wide issue, while still maintaining the services and quality of life our citizens, visitors, and the economy expect.

“In most instances, municipalities are asset rich and revenue poor, having to manage more relative infrastructure than both the provincial and federal governments. If this infrastructure is here to stay, then it is critical to fund both its operation and renewal, ensuring money is available during its lifetime and for its replacement,” says Mayor Ron Oszust. “While the art and science of establishing capital and operating reserves for infrastructure can be complex, the premise remains fundamental – money that has not been either set aside or planned for will have to be pulled from elsewhere to meet that eventuality. This could negatively impact another service, amenity, or the taxpayer and is simply not good practice for long term financial planning.”

The Town has identified a number of priority infrastructure replacement projects and facility needs for the next 20 years and has recently restructured its reserves in response to asset management best practices. Over the next year, Staff will be putting together an asset management plan, strategy and policy for Council to consider.

Importantly, in Golden, we are not just relying on budget increases to address our ongoing and future needs. We are, in fact, pursuing many granting opportunities that if successful, will ease the burden to the taxpayer.

Best suited for the grant opportunities at this time, the Town has applied for over $485,000 to undertake slip lining of a number of sewer lines to extend their life span. New road surfacing and boulevard construction will happen on 8th St.  North adjacent to the brewery, and 6th Street North between Ford and Mary’s Motel will be planned out for deep utility replacements and road rehabilitation in order to be prepared when granting opportunities arise.

In addition, in the fall of 2016, the Town was informed that our application to the New Building Canada – Small Communities Fund application for Phase 2 of the Community Sewer System Improvements had been transferred and approved under the new Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF) program. The funding regime under the CWWF program provides for an 80% Federal/Provincial cost share to a 20% municipal contribution.

“This important infrastructure renewal project will complete the rebuild of our settling ponds and lagoons, being a pretty core requirement to ensure our wastewater facility is modernized and functional,” says Town of Golden CAO Jon Wilsgard.

In 2016, work began on the Golden Swimming Pool renewal and enhancement project through the Canada 150 Infrastructure Program. The Town’s aquatic facility underwent over major capital improvements in 2016 and will see more work completed in 2017. Funding for the improvements came from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program grant ($170K), a CBT Grant ($85K) and a portion from the one-time 2015 Economic Opportunity Fund ($135K) which was transferred to the Recreation Reserve.

To learn more about our Proposed Five Year Financial Plan, grab a copy of our Budget Book. This will give you an idea of the “big picture” and where Golden is headed. The Budget Book can be found in hard copy at Town Hall, on the Town of Golden website at www.golden.ca and by visiting our Facebook Page.

Want to learn more about asset management and how it plays a part in our proposed financial plan? Be sure to attend our Budget Open House on January 17th, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Seniors Centre.