Chapter 3 – Budget 2016 Print Article Font Size
January 12, 2016

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

Like 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 5% this year, and in successive years, 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.”
Recent facility and amenity condition assessments coupled with inventory, valuation and amortization calculations, have permitted the Town to identify a number of priority infrastructure replacement projects and facility needs for the next 20 years. It is also in the process of restructuring its reserves in response to asset management best practices.
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.
We continue to wait on the announcements of successful applications to a large grant program which we are now told will happen this February. If we are successful, design and engineering would begin immediately after.
One of the projects under application is valued at $2.67M and if successful is 100% grant funded. The project contemplates complete replacement of water and sewer infrastructure below the streets from the Bargain! Store to Kicking Horse Ford to the Downtown Auto Wash, past Mary’s Motel and ending again at the intersection with 7th Street North. The end result would include repaving and boulevard landscaping, including a remill of the paved street surface from the Big Bend Café to the Dollar Store.
In addition, in 2015, we were successful in our New Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund application for Community Sewer System Improvements. The project will see the replacement of the aeration system and liners of our lagoons as well as a package odour scrubber at the nearby 12th Street lift station which together should effectively reduce process odour generation. Work is expected to begin early this spring and continue to the end of 2017.
“This project is valued at approximately $1.4M for which we must contribute just over one-third or about $478K. This important infrastructure renewal project also includes rebuilding a number of machinery components within the collection and treatment system,” says Town of Golden CAO Jon Wilsgard.
In 2015 Golden was also the recipient of a grant through the Canada 150 Infrastructure Program for its Renewal and Enhancement of the Golden Swimming Pool project. The Town’s aquatic facility will undergo over $340K in capital improvements in 2016 and 2017. Funding for the improvements will come from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program grant ($170K), a CBT Grant ($85K) and a portion from the one-time 2015 Economic Opportunity Fund ($85K) 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 also be found here on the Public Notices section of the Town of Golden website 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 19th, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 the Civic Centre.