© Jason Malloy
Municipality of Kings County building, Cornwallis Street, Kentville.
By Kirk Starratt
It looks like some of the worse subdivision streets across Kings County will be paved this fall, although council hasn’t decided how it will pay for the municipality’s share of the cost.
Chief Administrative Officer Tom MacEwan brought a staff report with payment options regarding the J-Class paving project for council to consider at its Sept. 3 session. The four options identified were to have the county’s share of the paving cost, about $1,112,000, from surpluses and reserves; implement a local improvement charge with 100 per cent cost recovery from residents; implement a local improvement charge with flexible recovery; or not to continue with the project. Council approved a list of streets to be paved at the Aug. 13 council session.
“We can create a bylaw (for a local improvement charge) that’s as flexible as you need it to be,” MacEwan told council.
The first motion discussed was the first option, to fund the county’s share of the paving costs using $545,000 from the current year’s forecasted surplus and $567,000 from the general capital reserve. MacEwan recommended this option. However, it was defeated in a six to five vote.
Coun. Patricia Bishop moved the fourth option, to drop the project. She said this was because she values the county’s budget process and she wants a new bylaw. Council had already directed MacEwan to review Bylaw 50 and provide recommendations on ways the municipality could fund its share of the J-Class paving costs that treat all residents equitably in road rehabilitation. However, the motion to drop the project was defeated seven to four.
Coun. Wayne Atwater moved to direct the chief administrator to execute the notice of acceptance of provincial funding, which the municipality had 15 days to do or lose the provincial money. A friendly amendment added, “with funding options to be determined by council.” The motion carried with a vote of eight to three.
Coun. Pauline Raven moved to discuss the third option, flexible cost recovery. This was the option staff recommended. However, council voted to refer this discussion and discussion of other options to a future meeting, by mid October at the latest. This could be handled through a special council meeting. Although no decisions are to be made, councillors are holding a workshop to discuss options for the J-Class paving project on Sept. 5.
The municipality’s Bylaw 50 outlines the current process for paving provincially owned subdivision or J-Class streets. After the county and province agree on a priority list, residents in the affected areas would be petitioned to gauge support for covering the municipality’s share of the cost. However, such residential petitions have been unsuccessful.
After learning there was surplus provincial funding in the program, county council approved having Warden Diana Brothers writing a letter to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal asking them to reserve $1 million for Kings County. The province agreed, as the municipality is prepared to explore funding options to cost share, up to $1 million. If the county hadn’t made the request, Brothers said the surplus would have gone to the Halifax Regional Municipality.
On Aug. 29, the municipality received confirmation that the province accepted the county’s list of roads. Based on cost estimates, an additional $224,000 would be needed. The province and municipality would each put up an additional $112,000 to cover the cost.
MacEwan said the province planned to put the paving work out to tender on Sept. 6 so the paving could be completed by Nov. 30.
See more in the Sept. 10 Advertiser