The City of St. Catharines has been very good at building infrastructure in the past; our record for maintaining and replacing failing infrastructure has not been nearly as good. This needs to change.
Over the past four years as the Budget Committee Chair, I have led reforms to increase the amount of reserve funding available for unforeseen circumstances; for instance, rather than acting surprised when a year’s snow clearing budget was wiped out by several big storms and having to raid other departmental budgets, St. Catharines now holds money in reserve to pay for these impossible to forecast events. In the same way, we need to budget dollars to pay for the maintenance and replacement of our infrastructure, and reforms in this area need to follow our Asset Management Plan.
Going forward, City Council must budget enough dollars to properly maintain the roads, sewers, sidewalks and buildings that exist in our city. This will require money from upper levels of government, who have funds available for these projects but which the City has done a poor job of accessing in the past. By combining better use of our property tax dollars with access to Federal and Provincial funding, we can build and maintain a community which will serve our current and future needs.
We owe it to future generations of St. Catharines residents to continue the good work that has been started.