Gas tax money burns a hole in Bonfield’s pocket, culverts planned to quell the flames

·2 min read

Bonfield has $176,000 of gas tax money on the table which must be spent before 2021 ends.

“I was getting concerned,” the township’s chief administrative officer Peter Johnston told council, “that despite discussions about this for months, we haven’t come up with a list.”

That list would contain options on how to spend that money. The Fire Department mentioned they could use an air compressor, but Johnston noted they have “money in their own reserve to do that.”

Which leaves other projects the gas tax could contribute to. Mayor Randy McLaren mentioned the township has about $875,000 saved from gas tax payments, much of which the municipality is putting toward Development Road.

However, that entire project “will probably require double that to reach completion,” Mayor McLaren said.

“Construction season is rapidly coming to a close,” Johnston said, and the gas tax money is “money that we have to spend this year.”

“We are required by law to spend a minimum of $176,000 of gas funds or technically we would have to return that money.”

Johnston added that there’s “a five-year window” to return the unspent funds but wanted to remind council to seize the funding while it remains.

Bonfield’s public works’ manager, Ann Carr, has been “measuring and remeasuring the culverts” under Development Road, preparing to reline the pipes.

Because these culverts are so deep, some “are over six meters deep in the ground,” Carr said, relining them with “a cement culvert inside of a culvert” already in place “is a lot cheaper than doing excavations.”

Some culverts along the road have been relined and are “holding up very well,” Carr added.

Spend the gas tax “on some culverts, or pre-engineering fees” regarding the work for Development Road, Johnston said, “by December 31 and we’re good to go.”

Council agreed and gave Carr the go ahead to issue a tender for relining the culverts.

The money will not cover all the work, as Carr estimates the entire culvert project will ring in at around $375,000.

She also expressed concern that response to the work tender might be scant given how late we are in the season.

Plus, “there’s still a process to go through with the conservation authority” Carr said, “when you’re changing diameters of culverts.”

If these issues prevent the plan from reaching fruition, Carr reassured council that “there are other culverts that need to be done, so there could be other purchases involved with that as well.”

“There are a lot of ways to spend that money.”

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca

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