Grant request for Texas Road restoration project rejected by province


Amherstburg-20131223-00268By Ron Giofu


A grant request under the Small, Rural and Northern Municipal Infrastructure Fund (SRNMIF) the town had applied for has been rejected by the province.

The town had hoped for up to $2 million with the municipality’s plan to use that funding towards the Texas Road project. The town learned last month its request had been turned down by the province.

Town council had authorized an Expression of Interest (EOI) at its Nov. 4 meeting, three days after the province’s deadline for submission. Chief administrative officer Mike Phipps said at the time the town had been granted an extension so it could still apply for SRNMIF funding.

“After the EOIs were submitted to the province, applications underwent a pre-screening process. Municipalities who successfully passed the pre-screening process will be given the opportunity to submit a full application in January 2014,” said manager of economic development and asset management Tony DeThomasis, adding the town did receive a letter of support from Essex MPP Taras Natyshak.

Jennifer Bousfield, manager of program operations with the Ministry of Rural Affairs, told the town almost 350 EOIs were received by the province.

“Your EOI did not pass the pre-screen primarily because other applicants with highly critical projects had more challenging economic conditions (as measured by property assessments and incomes),” Bousfield stated in a letter to the town.

Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland tried to assure Texas Road residents that administration will continue to pursue grants to get the stretch of the road between Front Road North and Concession 2 North restored. Sutherland said he is “going to fight like crazy” to try and get the road restored.

Town council had previously voted to continue holding the project in abeyance until March and have administration pursue federal and provincial funding for the project. Three options were presented to council with the option of fully restoring the road with sidewalks, sewers and bike lanes being over $6.5 million.

That $6.5 million option swells to over $10.3 million if financed over 20 years, and that amounts to a 2.8 percent tax increase per year for the next 20 years. In dollar figures, taxpayers would have to fund $466,000 per year in annual costs.

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