One of the big election promises of almost all the newly elected members of council was to pave the way to fixing Cranbrook’s crumbling road infrastructure.
While it’s early days of the fresh council, the first chance to make a mark came at the Wednesday night budget meeting.
The Engineering Department was looking for council’s choice between two options — a remove and repave strategy that would try to get the most streets possible into passable shape, or the more intensive reconstruction of 2nd Street South and its underlying infrastructure.
Charlotte Osborne, Director of Finance and Computer Services, explained that given the current year’s budget allocation the city engineering department would only be looking at phase one of three phases, so they are requesting the authorization for the remove and repave option.
Council chose the remove and repave option, and so city staff will be bringing back a list of specific roads that can be repaved and have a lower risk of infrastructure failure.
“Option two — mill and fill — is going to fix a certain number of roads that we’ve identified with an educational process that we’ve discussed,” Mayor Lee Pratt said. “Option one is kind of going down the road where we have been going where we do six blocks.”
Osborne noted that it is a much more extensive six blocks.
Eric Sharpe, Director of Engineering, said 2nd Street South has been identified as having failing infrastructure that will need to be done at some point.
“But I believe we can get one more year out of it,” Sharpe said. “We may have to tear it up or through Public Works do some repairs if we do have failures. That makes it the same as quite a few roads in town.”
Osborne noted that the repair and repave would likely allow 3.5 kilometres of road to be done in Cranbrook, based off last summer’s estimates. She said those paving distance could be greater if the price of fuel and other variables continue to fall.
The 2015 Roads Program funding itself was also on the table at a total cost of $3,487,856.
Part of the Road Program involves the Road Dedicated Tax Program implemented in 2010. The first year the amount collected was $179,000. In 2014, it was $1 million.
“What happens every year is we take the prior year’s number, collect that and add one per cent of the taxes that we collected the prior year before,” Osborne said. “Typically it works out to be about $230,000 we increase every year.”
Council agreed to stay on course and based on the five year plan, $9 million will be collected for the program by 2019.
Popoff had some concerns and wanted to look at other options, but ultimately voted along with all of council for the Road Program.
“I think it’s a good tax,” Coun. Tom Shypitka said. “It’s one of the primary concerns of the citizens here and it’s kind of putting the money where they want it to be.”
The agenda items were presented as separate items — both were approved by council.