Woodstock will spend more than $200,000 in upgrades to town streets this summer, including $100,000 in gas-tax funding approved by council.
At the June 14 council-in-committee meeting, CAO Andrew Garnett provided council members with details for this year's paving tender, outlining where the town will spend much of that money.
The town will direct more than half of the funds, $110,000, to milling and paving areas along Deakin Drive and Connell Street, directing work towards the "worst areas as determined by the director of public works."
Garnett said more than $47,000 would pay for the remaining half of Taylor Street, with the town spending another $43,000 to do a fine grade and two-inch base coat on Wright Street.
Garnett told council that the town would also accept an offer from resident and businessman Don Oulton to fine grade and apply a two-inch base coat at the end of Bicentennial Drive. He explained Oulton will cover the $38,630 cost this year to be reimbursed by the town in 2023.
During the May 24 regular meeting, Woodstock council voted unanimously to top up the town's summer paving program with $100,000 from the town's gas-tax funds.
During the discussion at that meeting, Coun. Jeff Bradbury raised concern the town is falling behind on street upgrades. He said he receives many complaints from town residents, including those on St. John and St. James streets, about the condition of the roads.
"So, I'm going to be a real stickler when it comes to budget time," he said, "It might be time to reduce some departments' budgets and put a lot more money towards paving."
The paving tender only covers a portion of planned street improvements this year.
In April, council heard from New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Jill Green about shared spending on Woodstock's designated highways, namely Houlton Street, Main Street and Connell Street.
"I am pleased to advise you that under our 2022 program for improvements to provincially designated highways in municipalities, my department is prepared to partner with your town on the following project estimated at $315,000 plus non-recoverable HST," Green wrote her letter to the town.
The project calls for upgrades to Houlton Street, from Charlotte to Poole Street, including storm sewer, curb and gutter.
Green explained that under the designated highways program, the province would cover a maximum of $236,000, while the town covers 25 per cent, amounting to $79,000.
However, the paving of the same section of Houlton Street under the designated highway program would wait until 2023, the province committing a maximum of $51,000, with the town covering $17,000.
The minister's letter delivered the province's three-year plan relating to the town's designated highway applications.
While tabling Green's letter at the April meeting, Garnett said the province was spreading its 2022 request over two years.
"We are technically $51,000 short," he said.
The minister ended her letter by delivering another hit to the town's long-range designated highway plans.
"Regrettably, I am unable to provide project funding to your municipality in 2024 as the funding requests far outweigh the financial resources available for this program," she wrote.
Garnett said the lack of funding in 2024 will force the town to revamp budget plans.
Following the June 14 council meeting, Woodstock Mayor Art Slipp said the town was fortunate to have available funding from the federal gas-tax rebate program. Not only were funds available to prop up this summer's paving tender by $100,000, but gas tax funds also helped cover the town's share of the designated highway projects.
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun