August 8, 2017; Liverpool, NS: The Region of Queens Council is looking to the future and making plans for down the road by setting up funding reserves and a long range plan to improve road conditions in the Municipality. At the August 8th Regular Council meeting, approval was given to sign the standard, recurring 3 year agreement to be eligible to “apply at a future date” for Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) approval to cost-share on surface upgrades. Staff will include a list of possible improvement needs to be included in the future capital plan, along with a funding suggestion to be considered at 2017/18 budget discussions.
The suggested solution would be to begin building a reserve as early as the 2018/19 budget, which would then be used in the recapitalization of Local Roads under the Municipal Service Exchange. The second item included a motion to authorize the Mayor and Chief Administrative Office (CAO) to sign the three year cost sharing agreement for paving subdivision roads; this is a document that is renewed every three years, and enables future consideration of joint paving projects with the Province.
The motion gives staff the flexibility to investigate the various funding solutions. At an estimated $250,000 per kilometer, and nearly 47 km of roads identified as being in need of resurfacing, there are over $11 million in infrastructure costs currently not funded. There is an annual financial cap on the Province of Nova Scotia’s cost sharing program, which currently funds up to 50% of project costs. Establishing a reserve to fund the municipal portion of the resurfacing of the identified roads will help to systematically, over a long period of time, enable roads to be resurfaced that would not otherwise be resurfaced. Some of the roads identified in the 46.84 km of roads require more immediate assistance, and will been attended to first. Roads eligible for paving under the Municipal Service Exchange agreement are those constructed prior to April 1995. Currently, fees paid by municipalities for operational maintenance (ie; winter operations, drainage, ditch maintenance, and pot hole repairs) do not cover resurfacing, and are adjusted annually by the consumer Price Index for Canada, with the rate for 2015/2016 being $5,064 per kilometer; the 2017/2018 Region of Queens budget allocated $244,613 to pay the Province for these services.