Town to search for grants for Texas Road project

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Texas Road residents will have to wait a little longer to see what the road restoration project will look like as the town is on the hunt for grant funding.

Town council voted continue holding the project in abeyance until March 2014 and have administration pursue federal and provincial funding for the project. Three options were presented to council, the third being the full project originally passed in February, with the full option 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.

Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland wanted to see the entire project done regardless of funding applications, stating residents of the area were promised the full restoration.

“It becomes our problem if we don’t get funding,” Sutherland added.

Sutherland noted it “was an awful lot of money” but said if they could not get grant funding, he hoped the town could get better interest rates and do the full project.

Council will further discuss the matter next year if they get funding or not when a report comes back before them.

Councillor Carolyn Davies said it “is a very difficult decision to make” and there are still unanswered questions. She did balk at the price of the full option and hoped grant funding would soon be on its way from higher levels of government.

“My concern is the hefty price,” said Davies. “I don’t think the people are going to be excited to pay 2.8 per cent over 20 years.”

Councillor Diane Pouget was also in favour of administration seeking grants, saying administration should use the winter months to pursue government funding and have the project “shovel ready” should money be available. A 2.8 percent increase is “an astounding amount of money” over 20 years and the project should not proceed if no funding is available.

“If we don’t have the funds, I don’t see how we can proceed with Option 3 (the full option),” Pouget stated.

If the project gets funding and can proceed, Pouget said Texas Road is the priority.

“Unless it’s an absolute emergency, we shouldn’t be spending money on any other major projects,” said Pouget.

Councillor Bart DiPasquale also pointed out the high interest rates but believed the town should at least investigate grant funding.

“Let’s give it a shot,” said DiPasquale. “If we can get something to offset the costs, it’s going to benefit everyone.”

Councillor Bob Pillon was willing to look at the scaled down versions, saying “it’s insanity to think we are going to spend $10 million on one road.”

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