Peterborough County facing $53-million deficit for its aging infrastructure
Officials say over the next 10 years, Peterborough County will be about $53 million dollars short in maintaining its roads, bridges and buildings.
That’s just to maintain what it already has, nevermind any future builds, says Grant Murphy, director of infrastructure for the county.
One of those buildings is the courthouse on Water Street in Peterborough which the County owns and operates.
“There’s a lot of challenges to keep it up to an appropriate level of maintenance,” said Murphy.
County officials aren’t set on raising on taxes to make up the shortfall, instead are looking to the provincial and federal governments for help.
“If we were to ask property owners to contribute a little bit more, it would be 54 cents a day for the average homeowner,” added Murphy.
County Warden J. Murray Jones says taxes aren’t the answer.
“We don’t want to raise taxes. We’re taxpayers too,” said Jones. “Something has to be done, the infrastructure expectations are too much for us to handle.”
Murphy says concern is growing as projects are put off and delayed due to a lack of money, and that the costs will continue to go up and so too will the deficit.
“Obviously there will be inflationary pressure, changes in wage rates and competition amongst other municipalities and other construction work in the province, and that certainly drives up costs as well,” said Murphy.
“Where the answer is, we don’t know,” added Jones. “We’re doing our best to keep our head above water.”
One of the larger projects on the go is the widening of the James A. Gifford Causeway spanning Chemong Lake.
The County is asking the federal and provincial governments for $10 million dollars for the project.
It’s hoping to hear back later this year. Construction is expected to get underway in the fall.
WATCH (April 2019): Peterborough County wants more infrastructure money in Ontario budget
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