Mayor ta­bles res­o­lu­tion to change cost-shar­ing ra­tio for road­work

Cap­i­tal works fund­ing ‘un­af­ford­able and un­fair to small mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties’: Churence Rogers

The Packet (Clarenville) - - EDITORIAL - BY CORY HUR­LEY THE NOR’WESTER cory.hur­ley@thenor­wester.ca

COR­NER BROOK, NL — Churence Rogers be­lieves changes to the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal works fund­ing pro­gram ear­lier this year were paved with good in­ten­tions, but left things a lit­tle bumpy for towns through­out the prov­ince.

The mayor of Cen­tre­ville-Ware­hamTrin­ity has brought for­ward a res­o­lu­tion on the is­sue to be con­sid­ered at the Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador (MNL) an­nual gen­eral meet­ing un­der­way in Cor­ner Brook.

Rogers and the town he rep­re­sents are ask­ing MNL to lobby the prov­ince for a fund­ing so­lu­tion for road­work that lessens the bur­den on ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

“As it cur­rently stands, it is un­af­ford­able and un­fair to small mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties,” he said.

Rogers said he un­der­stands the premise to fo­cus cap­i­tal works fund­ing on such ini­tia­tives as wa­ter and waste wa­ter – which con­tin­ues to al­low towns to avail of a 90/10, 80/20 or 70/30 cost­shar­ing ar­range­ment de­pend­ing on pop­u­la­tion — and that his town has fo­cused on those projects.

How­ever, the cur­rent three-year mu­nic­i­pal in­fra­struc­ture pro­gram leaves road­work at a 50/50 cost-shar­ing ar­range­ment re­gard­less of pop­u­la­tion.

“The 50/50 ra­tio ef­fec­tively takes us out of the pic­ture for road­work,” Rogers said. “We have some road­work, like most small towns, that des­per­ately needs to be done.”

As a re­sult, the town has not even ap­plied for road­work. It sim­ply can­not af­ford to, ac­cord­ing to the mayor. His town does not have the tax base or rev­enue gen­er­a­tion to pay half the cost nec­es­sary to do road­work in the town.

There are 18 kilo­me­tres of road in Cen­tre­ville-Ware­ham-Trin­ity, he said. Some of it is still not paved and the rest is in need of up­grad­ing.

Rogers ac­knowl­edged road­work is a com­mon de­mand from res­i­dents of his town, like most through­out the prov­ince. The roads that do have pave­ment were done 30-40 years ago, he said. The town is spend­ing a con­sid­er­able amount of money and staff re­sources to main­tain what they do have with “patch­work.”

The mul­ti­ple mil­lions of dol­lars re­quired to do the work is not some­thing Rogers said he would ever imag­ine be­ing al­lo­cated all at once. How­ever, within a 50/50 cost-shar­ing ar­range­ment, he said the town is un­able to even con­tem­plate a multi-year plan to re­solve the in­creas­ingly de­te­ri­o­rat­ing in­fra­struc­ture.

Rogers, the for­mer pres­i­dent MNL, said the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives need to talk to the prov­ince and the fed­eral govern­ment to re­fo­cus cost­shar­ing ra­tios.

“We would like to see a cost-shar­ing ra­tio (that is) much more gen­er­ous,” he said. “While maybe not nec­es­sar­ily 90/10 — of course we would love to see that — but some­thing that makes it af­ford­able or at least gives us a chance to be able to ap­ply for fund­ing.”

Also un­der­stand­ing the fis­cal re­straints of the prov­ince, he said the three lev­els of govern­ment could find a res­o­lu­tion.

“We all, as small mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, have streets in our towns that are in de­plorable con­di­tion and in need of re­pairs,” he said. “Un­less you get sup­port from the other lev­els of govern­ment, it is tough to make any ma­jor im­prove­ments.”

CORY HUR­LEY/THE NOR’WESTER

Churence Rogers was at the Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador (MNL) an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in Cor­ner Brook Thurs­day.

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