Monday, October 26, 2015

Crowsnest Pass: We are going into debt and why.

Last week at the council meeting (Oct 20) we gave second and third readings to borrowing bylaws 934, 935 and 936 I will explain each in more detail.

Bylaw 934 is for the sum of $1.2 million which will be spent on upgrading the roofs at the MDM facility and the Crowsnest Sports Complex.
The MDM is used by a large number of groups for various programs and the gym is our only community hall that can hold a large crowd or an event of more than 150 people.
The Crowsnest Sports Complex is the arena in Coleman, both of these facilities are in dire need of their roofs being upgraded or they will continue to deteriorate and ultimately we will lose them.

Bylaw 935 is for the sum of $1,672,500 which will be spent on the Frank Wastewater Facility (Sewer plant). With this plant we have a provincial license to operate it that requires the municipality to upgrade the plant by 2019. The total upgrade of the plant will be in the range of $18 million with the expectation on our part that the project will be funded two thirds by the provincial and federal governments. The first phase of the project is for $5 million our share will be the $1.7 stated above, this project/borrowing will not proceed unless we receive the grants or council commits to borrow the full $5 million. The problem with that scenario is if you start the project before you get the grant you no longer qualify for the grants. Second the municipality by provincial law can only borrow up to $19 million so a big chunk of that would be eaten up by the Sewer Plant if we proceeded with that approach.

Bylaw 936 is for the sum of $700,000 which will be spent on either the upgrade of the York Creek lodge or the building of a new lodge. (We expect a decision in the next month). In 2010 previous council had made a commitment of $1 million to a proposal by the York Creek Lodge Board to upgrade the facility. This council felt it was important to fulfill that commitment so if the lodge proceeds we will be taking $300,000 out of reserves and borrowing the other $700,000 to honor that pledge.

How will this affect our taxes? It won't.

This year we are paying out of our operational budget the sum of $450,000 on our existing debt, that amount drops to $75,000 next year, $29,000 in 2017 and 2018.
The annual principal payments on the above: Bylaw 934 $100,000, Bylaw 935 $42,000, and Bylaw 936 $60,000. Our total principal payment for next year would be $277,000 depending on when we borrow the money, if the lodge or the sewer plant doesn't happen until later in the year then we will not see payments until 2017.
Based on the fact that we are paying more than those amounts right now this borrowing should have zero negative impact on our tax bills.