With so much work to do in the next five years, the City of Moose Jaw has put the wheels in motion to be able to borrow more money. The infrastructure deficit has been talked about at City Hall for a number of years now but it has only been recently that steps have been taken to start addressing it.
Finance Director Brian Acker explained to council this week that there just isn't enough room on their current debt limit to do the work that has been planned.
"Our current debt is projected to be $25.2 million and our new debt that we anticipate over the next five year period, at the top end, will be about $122 million in debt that we would have."
Acker recommended that they apply for a $125 million debt limit, just in case some of their figures are incorrect. He also said that there could be some federal or provincial funding to help with some of their capital projects so they might not need all of the $122 million either.
City administration said one alternative to increasing the debt limit was to re-evaluate their Capital Budget and cut back on some of the projects, an idea that Councillor Brian Swanson favoured who then compared running the city to any household in the community.
"I might say that I need a new furnace, I need new air conditioning, I gotta rewire my house and the plumbing is not good. All of those are really good things but I, as an individual, am limited by how much debt I can take on and survive and the city is no different. I would suggest that this level of debt would be a crushing blow to Moose Jaw."
City council ended up approving the motion to apply for a higher level of debt with Councillor Chris Warren suggesting that two many years were spent avoiding the infrastructure problems.
"Even though the number is daunting... look at where we are now, having to put a whole bunch of money these infrastructure assets that we have literally neglected due to wide range of reasons but maybe one was that we weren't prepared to spend the money."