The Glengarry News
Township playing ‘catch-up’ on reserves
South Glengarry’s general manager of infrastructure emphasized the need to establish a reserve fund for the municipal water/ wastewater department during last week’s budget meeting.
“What the municipality has historically been doing is funding capital and operations on a yearby-year basis, based on the capital projects that come forward,” Ewen MacDonald explained.
“This is dissimilar to what we do in other areas, such as for our bridges and fire services, our landfills, where we have accumulated and dedicated reserves each year so that we have a funding model based on the life-cycle costs of the system...which supports future costs.” He also spoke of how the township needed to “catch up” in regards to its water/wastewater infrastructure spending, citing how the recommendations of a decade- old report have yet to be approached. “Going back to our 2008 plan (the TSH/ Totten Sims Hubicki Associates Infrastructure Capital
Planning Study prepared for the township)...it was identified that over the 25-year forecast period, we would be looking at replacement, capital costs only...of $15 million,” stated Mr. MacDonald.
“If you do the straight division, that is $600,000 per year...We haven’t expended anywhere near what they recommended we do. We’re substantially underfunding our future capital needs. ”
Mr. MacDonald also pointed out that having to make an emergency capital purchase could be financially challenging for the township, under the current set- up. “As it is right now, if we had a catastrophic failure of a pump, for example, that’s going to cost us half-a-million dollars, and we don’t have a reserve fund, outside of the general reserve, to go to for that,” he said.
“So what we would really like to see coming out of the (new) capital plan is a dedicated fund to support future infrastructure costs. Unfortunately, we can’t depend on upper-level government funding to support maintenance and ongoing replacement of our infrastructure.”