New City of Revelstoke finance report recommends deferring road work

Major road repairs needed in Revelstoke could be excluded from this year's budget. Instead, Revelstoke's Department of Finance is recommending the estimated $900,000 repaving and road repair project be included as part of a long-term financial asset management plan.

In this file photo, trucks lined up on Victoria Road waiting for the Trans-Canada to reopen. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

Those unhappy with the state of Revelstoke’s roads may be stuck waiting even longer for major repair work to be completed. This comes after a new Department of Finance report recommends major road repairs be put off during this budget and considered as part of a larger long-term asset management plan.

During the ongoing budget process, city council had been deliberating whether to move forward with $900,000 in road repairs as part of the 2017 budget. The total would then jump up to about $1.5 million per year in the following years.

The finance department prepared the new report after council requested more information on best tax options with regard to the paving plan.

While the 2017 draft budget includes $235,000 for road repairs, it falls shy of the estimated extra $900,000 needed to maintain and improve the state of Revelstoke roads.

Earlier this year, the city hired engineering company Tetra Tech to conduct a study on Revelstoke’s road infrastructure. The report found that continuing to do a minimal amount of roadwork each year — such as pothole patching — will increase the overall cost of repairs in the long run, and lead to deteriorating road quality.

The report said the city would have to drastically increase the road maintenance budget in order to properly maintain the roads. It also noted that this was the most economical option because maintaining roads to prevent them from deteriorating is more cost effective than letting them deteriorate to the point where they need replacing.

If council were to approve the upgrades as part of the 2017 budget, it would mean a potential 7.2% increase in taxes for road improvements alone. That increase only accounts for the ramp-up during the first year. In subsequent years of the five-year financial plan, the annual spend could range from $600,000 to $1.5 million annually, according to a city budget document.

For more, see this link to the finance department report. Council will discuss the report at their Mar. 21 budget meeting.