Fredericton making plans to spend close to $16 million in federal gasoline tax revenues. (Daily Gleaner, February 11,2010)
City council has approved a tentative project list as part of a draft of a five-year capital investment plan. A provincial-federal oversight committee has to review the plan and a letter of agreement will be drawn up. Once that happens and the document comes back to city council for approval, then the city will release a list of proposed projects.
"The draft plan includes about $14.8 million for water and sewer-related projects," said Coun. Mike O'Brien, chairman of the city's finance and administration committee.
The city is proposing to include any associated street repair costs associated with digging up roadways to install new surfaces. Another $900,000 is proposed for trail projects. The city is completing the first four fiscal years of the federal government's gasoline tax revenue-sharing program with municipal governments across the country.
Since 2006, Fredericton has received $9.7 million in funding from Ottawa. The city used the money to build storm water attenuation ponds, Knowledge Park Drive roadway, the Cliffe Street off-ramp, and the St. John Street sanitary sewer upgrade. It will also use funds for heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems for both the new downtown conference centre and the Grant * Harvey complex.
Another $1.6 million out of the federal funding was applied toward the costs of the E.J. Bliss water treatment plant on Waterloo Row.
The city will receive its next round of funding - once its spending plan is approved - in four annual payments of close to $4 million each. The federal funding has to be spent on public transit, community energy systems, water or sewage treatment projects, storm sewer drainage systems, landfill projects, roads and bridges.
O'Brien said the key criteria are that the projects make for cleaner water, air and lower greenhouse gases. "The funds cannot be used to offset any funds already budgeted by the city," O'Brien said.
Adjustments to the city's spending plan can be made with written consent of the provincial Department of Local Government, provided the changes continue to meet the program criteria. "I expect this will be reviewed at least annually during the budget process, or if any unexpected project or opportunity should arise," O'Brien said.