Adoption of the PTI - Mayor's word

October 8, 2021

A word from Mayor Caryl Green

 

Caryl-Green.jpg

 

Dear residents,

Tonight Municipal Council has adopted its three-year capital expenditure plan (PTI) tonight for 2022 to 2024. Council has been adopting its PTI in October for the past few years. This allows us to issue our calls for tenders early, which not only helps us secure the best prices, but also ensures contractor availability for the work.

For this PTI, Council has maintained the levels of investment for priority infrastructure and the purchase of new vehicles and equipment needed to deliver municipal services.  Chelsea’s current growth generates additional revenue for the municipality but also creates new needs.  To continue meeting the needs of our residents, we need to expand certain buildings, including our drinking water and wastewater treatment plants, municipal garage, and city hall. With all of these expenditures, we had to make some choices to arrive at a balanced PTI that takes into consideration our needs in the short, medium, and long term. 

The PTI includes total investments of $43 million allocated over three years as follows:

  • 2022: $17.6 million
  • 2023: $9.7 million
  • 2024: $15.8 million

This may seem like a big amount, but it represents only $30 million in new spending. The remaining $13 million  was allocated in the previous PTI (2021–2023) but has yet to be spent. And since the $14 million to expand the treatment centres in the village centre will be paid for through a sector tax, the new investments to be taxed to all residents stand at $16 million.

 

These investments will be paid for as follows:

  • Contributions and subsidies: $12.7 million
  • Taxpayer debt: $20.5 million
  • Sector debt: $8.7 million $
  • Amount funded by the Municipality: $1.1 million (park and playground levies, working capital, operating budget, and appropriated surplus)

 

 

Council’s priority projects

Once again this year, Chelsea’s Voie Verte remains a priority for Council, as does roadwork on Chemin de la Rivière and Chemin du Lac-Meech. All are underway, but investments will be needed in the coming years to bring them to completion.

 

Chemin du Lac Meech: $4.6 million, including approximately $1.3 million in financial assistance

Most of the roadwork along Chemin du Lac-Meech between Chemin Dunlop and the Gatineau Parkway was completed this year. Unfortunately we’re still waiting for the utilities companies to relocate the power and telecommunications poles, which is causing project delays. Once the poles are moved, the municipal team will be able to complete the work on that section. That will leave the sections between Chemin Dunlop and O’Brien Beach and between O’Brien Beach and the end of Chemin du Lac-Meech.

  • Relocation of utility poles between Chemin Dunlop and the Gatineau Parkway (2022)
  • Roadwork on the section between Chemin Dunlop and O’Brien Beach, including addition of bike lanes (2023)
  • Professional services for roadwork on the section between O’Brien Beach and the end of Chemin du Lac-Meech (2022). Roadwork scheduled for 2025.

The Municipality is still looking for government subsidies or other forms of additional revenue to help bring down the cost of these big projects. We are hopeful that funding will be forthcoming, particularly since the road is so popular with people visiting Canada’s Capital Region.

 

Chemin de la Rivière: $7 million, including approximately $2.4 million in financial assistance

The first phase of the roadwork along Chemin de la Rivière got underway in September. However, most of the roadwork will take place near the river and wetlands, which meant it had to be pushed back to 2022. This includes complete or partial rehabilitation of some sections and reconfiguration of the Voie Verte Chelsea intersection.

That’s why investments of $7 million have been carried over to the PTI.  This amount is an investment from the last PTI that hasn’t been spent yet. We have applied for $2.4 million in financial assistance and expect to have an answer in the next few weeks.

 

Voie Verte Chelsea: $1.6 million, including a $287,000 subsidy

Over our four years in office, Voie Verte Chelsea has become a mixed-use trail that’s very popular with Chelsea residents. This project was particularly important to Council. I’m very proud of all the work accomplished so far. The trail is almost completed, but there is still finishing work to be done. That work is included in this PTI.

 

  • Stone dust surfacing (2022)
  • Trail stabilization:
    • North of Chemin Hudson (2022)
    • North of Chemin Church (2024)
  • Signage (2022)
  • Professional services for the La Vallée sector (2022)

 

Major works

The main investments in this PTI are mostly for infrastructure and buildings. With our growing population and planned real estate developments, particularly near the village centre, expanding our drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities has become an urgent priority. We’ll be investing a total of $14 million to that end over the next three years. Of that amount, an estimated $6.7 million should be in the form of government subsidies. The rest will be paid primarily by system users through a sector tax, as well as through royalties billed to new users connecting to the system.

In addition to expanding our wastewater plant, we also need to upgrade our sewage treatment plant. We’ve known since the beginning that we would need to upgrade the system to keep it running smoothly.

  • Professional services for the expansion of our drinking water treatment plant (2023)
  • Expansion of our drinking water treatment plant (2024)
  • Professional services for the expansion of our wastewater treatment plant (2023)
  • Expansion of our wastewater treatment plant (2024)
  • Upgrades to our sewage treatment plant (2022)

The growth in our population has also created new needs in terms of municipal staff. That’s why we’ll be investing $1.8 million to expand city hall and our municipal garage in order to maintain quality services for our residents. We’ll be using the $150,000 unappropriated surplus to bring down the cost of that expenditure.

We will also be investing $2.5 million to develop the New Chelsea sector along Route 105, north of Chemin d’Old Chelsea. That investment will cover a number of major projects, including piping the ditches and stormwater drainage and installing a water main. The sector will be further developed through the addition of sidewalks, bike paths, crosswalks, and street furniture. The work will mostly be paid for through a sector tax.

 

Other investments

The PTI also includes investments in the quality of life and safety of our residents, with funds allocated to parks and recreation and the fire department.

  • Farm Point Park improvements and service chalet refurbishment (2022–2023)
  • New trails (2022–2024)
  • Infrastructure for teens (2022–2024)
  • New emergency generators (2022–2024)
  • Replacement of emergency vehicle (2022)
  • New ladder truck (2023)

 

Estimated outstanding debt based on adopted PTI

 

 

2021

2022

2023

2024

To taxpayers

$32,424,097

$41,611,560

$43,454,744

$43,780,805

To the sector

$17,285,969

$18,175,095

$19,675,926

$23,706,777

To the Government of Québec

$2,778,334

$2,819,900

$2,904,846

$8,794,698

Total debt

$52,488,400

$62,606,555

$66,035,516

$76,282,280

 

The significant increase in taxpayer debt in 2022, which is mostly due to the Chemin de la Rivière and Chemin du Lac-Meech roadwork, brings our total taxpayer debt to more than $40 million. However it’s important to keep in mind that the Municipality’s growing property wealth generated by the new developments will lessen the impact on municipal taxpayers.

The Municipality has invested nearly $27 million in major essential roadwork since 2013. It has taken a sustained effort to tackle this infrastructure deficit over the past several years and work on most collector roads has been completed or will be by 2025, with the exception of a segment of Route 105 (north of Old Chelsea), which will be redone after 2025. This will necessitate further investments of $12 million. The work done has an estimated lifespan of 15–25 years. Annual preventive maintenance will be done to extend the lifespan of the roadwork carried out in the past few years and reduce the cost of future roadwork on those same roads.

 

Collector roads that have been refurbished or will be by 2025:

  • Chemin Scott (in part)
  • Chemin de la Montagne
  • Route 105 (in part)
  • Chemin Kingsmere (in part)
  • Chemin Notch
  • Chemin de la Mine
  • Chemin du Lac-Meech (first section 2021)
  • Chemin de la Rivière (in two parts, 2021–2022)
  • Chemin du Lac-Meech (second and third sections, 2023–2025)

 

Cash reimbursement

Thanks to our policy for managing long-term debt and accumulated surpluses, the Municipality was able to pay $1.2 million of these investments in cash in 2021, thereby reducing its debt.

Once the financial results are in for 2021, the Municipality will be able to use the accumulated surplus to make other cash payments in 2022.  Property and transfer tax revenues generated by the new developments is already expected to exceed our projections for 2021.

 

Conclusion

 

This PTI will allow us to both complete major projects such as the roadwork on Chemin du Lac-Meech and Chemin de la Rivière and plan for the municipality’s future. You will no doubt have noticed that the PTI does not include any investments for our river access project, the feasibility of which is still being evaluated. The amounts needed to move that project forward will be included in the Municipality’s operating budget. Rest assured, it is still very much on the table. It’s just that the amount will be paid for in cash.

In closing, I would like to take this last opportunity, while I still have the honour of presiding over a Council meeting as mayor, to thank everyone I’ve worked with over the past 4, 8, and even 12 years, particularly municipal staff, who carry the great responsibility of bringing our projects to life. The last year and a half has been a particularly challenging time due to the pandemic. But all our projects kept moving ahead at the usual pace. We are extremely lucky to be able to count on such a skilled and dedicated team.

I would also like to thank the many residents who took the time to write to us about specific issues, thank us for our work, or help us advance with certain projects by taking the time to answer our questions. And of course, thank you to the people who sat on various committees to help us move important projects forward, and to all the volunteers at our community organizations. Your expertise, combined with that of our municipal teams, has been instrumental in  helping Council make informed decisions throughout this past term.

Last but not least, thank you to everyone on Council for your tireless work and dedication. Together, we were able to complete a number of big projects this past term. Thank you for making the time to attend so many different meetings, especially those of you with full-time jobs. Your commitment and contributions are invaluable to the community and we can be proud of everything we’ve accomplished. 

 

Sincerely,

Caryl Green