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Asset Management Report raises concerns

AssetManagemnt

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts – Smiths Falls

Presenting the report’s finding to the Committee of the Whole during the April 11 meeting were delegates from the three consulting firms that had worked with town staff in compiling the report and its recommendations.

“Phase I of the report, which included roads and wastewater infrastructure was completed a couple of years ago, so the scope of this phase II was to bring all the remaining assets into the plan,” said Dan Wilson from Watson and Associates.

The presentation covered the methodology, philosophy and assumptions that informed the completed plan.

“The process has been revealing in that we now have a comprehensive understanding of our assets and a solid strategy to manage it,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris.

The comprehensive plan and detailed report includes, level of service and risk/criticality assessment for each of the town’s assets along with an asset management plan over a 20 year forecast horizon.

Not surprisingly the strategy calls for increases in the mill rate portion of property taxes over and above the assessment increases as well as water and wastewater rate increases over the foreseeable future.  The recommendation is for a 4.03 per cent increase in the tax rate, 8.5 per cent increase in the water rate and 9 per cent increase in the sewage rate.

“To put it in perspective these increases would average out to $7.20 per month for water and wastewater and represent a $104 per year increase in taxes,” clarified Janet Kozeil, Smiths Falls interim treasurer.

A heated discussion ensued with half the councillors dead set against tax increases and half acknowledging that the asset management plan makes sense however painful it might be.

In the end the committee chose to receive the report rather than to accept it, which they felt would be tantamount to accepting the recommended tax increases.  They did however accept the recommendation to roll budget surpluses into reserve ahead of the budget discussion at the end of the month.

The town’s asset management plan is complete and the full report is available online at the town’s website.

Photo: Representatives from three consulting firms retained for the job were on hand to present the newly released comprehensive Asset Management Plan to the Committee of the Whole on April 11. From Left: Arunas Kalinauskas, asset management specialist with R.J. Burnside and Associates; Dan Wilson, directow with Watson & Associates economists, Troy Dunlop, Smiths Falls director of Public Works and Utilities; and Max Christie, with XIE Environmental.

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Asset Management Report raises concerns

AssetManagemnt

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts – Smiths Falls

Presenting the report’s finding to the Committee of the Whole during the April 11 meeting were delegates from the three consulting firms that had worked with town staff in compiling the report and its recommendations.

“Phase I of the report, which included roads and wastewater infrastructure was completed a couple of years ago, so the scope of this phase II was to bring all the remaining assets into the plan,” said Dan Wilson from Watson and Associates.

The presentation covered the methodology, philosophy and assumptions that informed the completed plan.

“The process has been revealing in that we now have a comprehensive understanding of our assets and a solid strategy to manage it,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris.

The comprehensive plan and detailed report includes, level of service and risk/criticality assessment for each of the town’s assets along with an asset management plan over a 20 year forecast horizon.

Not surprisingly the strategy calls for increases in the mill rate portion of property taxes over and above the assessment increases as well as water and wastewater rate increases over the foreseeable future.  The recommendation is for a 4.03 per cent increase in the tax rate, 8.5 per cent increase in the water rate and 9 per cent increase in the sewage rate.

“To put it in perspective these increases would average out to $7.20 per month for water and wastewater and represent a $104 per year increase in taxes,” clarified Janet Kozeil, Smiths Falls interim treasurer.

A heated discussion ensued with half the councillors dead set against tax increases and half acknowledging that the asset management plan makes sense however painful it might be.

In the end the committee chose to receive the report rather than to accept it, which they felt would be tantamount to accepting the recommended tax increases.  They did however accept the recommendation to roll budget surpluses into reserve ahead of the budget discussion at the end of the month.

The town’s asset management plan is complete and the full report is available online at the town’s website.

Photo: Representatives from three consulting firms retained for the job were on hand to present the newly released comprehensive Asset Management Plan to the Committee of the Whole on April 11. From Left: Arunas Kalinauskas, asset management specialist with R.J. Burnside and Associates; Dan Wilson, directow with Watson & Associates economists, Troy Dunlop, Smiths Falls director of Public Works and Utilities; and Max Christie, with XIE Environmental.

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