Staggering City Infrastructure Deficit file photo by Sue Storr

Replacing all the infrastructure that needs to be replaced in Sarnia would cost about $1.6-billion.

Sarnia City Council was provided a snapshot of the 2015 draft budget in special session Monday morning.

Staff expects to spend about $10-million on infrastructure next year after prioritizing projects and taking upper tier funding into account.

Mayor Mike Bradley says funding cooperation from the federal and provincial governments has slowed down in the past 4 years.

Bradley says the city’s debt has decreased from $95.5-million in 2003 to an anticipated $24.7-million by the end of this year.

He says becoming one of the few debt free communities in Canada will give Sarnia the funds to reinvest in infrastructure without raising taxes.

Proposed projects for 2015 include Talfourd/Devine St. Sewer Separation and Blackwell Sideroad and Waterworks Rd. reconstruction.

The Bright’s Grove Lagoons and Bedford and Murphy Rd. pumping station top the list of current identified projects.

A 4.4 per cent operating budget increase is projected by the city next year.

A two per cent increase is proposed for all city departments, $710,000 to operate the RBC Centre, $510,000 to pay for the city’s transportation master plan and $250,000 to bump up the operating contingency reserve. A one per cent tax increase, amounting to $500,000, is also proposed for road resurfacing.

City staff have set a three per cent target increase for the 2015 draft water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer budgets. $2-million is also being budgeted in 2015 for phase 2 Centennial Park Remediation.