Airing it out

The Columbia Avenue and Washington Street report goes public on the City of Rossland's website.

The proof is in the pudding.

And that pudding is now online as the City of Rossland has uploaded the entire series of reports regarding the alternative approval process (AAP) for the Columbia Avenue and Washington Street Project.

Found at, the reports contain all of the numbers showing the trail of the money for the project, as well as plenty of background material, including some engineering reports.

The reports lead into the now active public process to determine how the city will pay for the $5.8 million it owes for the work it contracted out last year.

It’s not a matter of if the city will have to pay, but how much over what length of time. Late last month council postulated that long term financing of the Columbia Avenue and Washington Street Project was desirable.

Towards that end council drafted a bylaw to borrow a sum not exceeding $4 million—submitted to the inspector of Municipalities for a certificate of approval—to present to the electors this summer through an alternative approval process.

The intent of the bylaw is to provide the financing mechanism for the project, not a debt repayment bylaw (the financial plan and the annual budget bylaws provide the repayment of debt).

The total project is estimated at $5.8 million. The funding to date includes a $295,313 grant from the Towns for Tomorrow, $31,375 from Development Cost Credits and $382,905 from prior years’ revenues as identified in a report to council on May 12.

The remainder of funding will be $1,014,548 from reserves and $4 million from borrowing as identified in the 2013 to 2017 financial plan.

According to a city staff report, “Borrowing of $4 million over 30 years to fund a project that has a useful life of over 70 years assists in the sharing of costs among users.”

Almost 95 per cent of the Columbia Avenue and Washington Street Project was completed in the fall of 2012, with infrastructure replaced and enhanced within the scope of the project.

City chief financial officer Cecile Arnott said if the long term borrowing failed through the AAP, council would review a strategy for borrowing over five years and further depleting reserves.

“Therefore, if a taxpayer agrees to the long term borrowing, they should not sign the petition against the bylaw,” she said in a report to council.

This would probably result in borrowing $3-4 million and repaying over five years. The annual debt repayment would be between $650,000 and $840,000. The estimated annual tax increase to that same average home would be between $300 and $400 per year.

In a previous alternative approval process there were 18 petitioners against the adoption of the loan authorization bylaw. If 10 per cent of the electors—256 signatures—sign the petition against the bylaw then the long term borrowing fails.

It is estimated that the total number of electors who are residents and eligible non-resident property electors in the city is approximately 2,558.

The established deadline for response in the AAP is 4 p.m. on Aug. 27.


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