Did freezing taxes in Windsor create a dilemma?

A road closed for road repairs. (File photo by Adelle Loiselle.)

Windsor councillors are being told they need to increase the city’s capital budget to properly maintain and rehabilitate existing assets.

An Asset Management Plan (AMP) report that went before the Corporate Services Standing Committee Monday night showed the capital budget needs to increase by almost $5 million a year for the next six years beginning in 2020.

The city said it has a $34 million annual shortfall in funding to sustain current service levels and added that property tax bills would jump by approximately 1.16 per cent each year to make up the difference.

The city currently spends an average of nearly $78 million a year to fix or replace aging or failing assets such as roads, sidewalks, facilities, streetlights, traffic lights, and playgrounds.

The AMP does not include sewers or Transit Windsor because they are currently under review.

“The approval of the recommendations in the report will result in the average annual funding for capital projects to address the maintenance of existing assets growing to a level of approximately $111 million each year by 2026,” the report stated.

Windsor council is also being urged to continue funding growth, service enhancements, and economic development to the tune of $45 million a year.

“A proactive approach to managing assets is just good business sense that has been proven to reduce the overall cost of asset ownership,” said Melissa Osborne, senior manager of asset planning.

The city report stated that overall, the condition of its assets is Good, which is an improvement compared to the Fair rating in 2013, but still has $336 million of assets (mainly roads) estimated to be in very poor condition.

“This AMP is focused on ensuring funding levels for maintenance of existing assets is enough to sustain the current levels of service over the next 20 years,” said Osborne.

The province requires that municipalities must update their asset management plan every five years.