Clinton council has given third reading to a bylaw authorizing the borrowing of $1.2 million over a period of 30 years for the construction of a new public works building at Elliott Park.
Requests for proposal for construction of the building have been obtained, but funds for the project must be secured before a contract can be awarded.
Chief Administrative Officer Murray Daly explained that approval had to be obtained from first the provincial government and then the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, as loan requests from municipalities to the Municipal Finance Authority (MFA) go through the regional district. He added approval from the public was not necessary due to the village’s excellent loan-carrying capacity and having only one small MFA loan outstanding.
Coun. David Park asked if some of the funds received from the Clinton and District Community Forest could be used to decrease the amount of the loan.
Daly replied that monies received from the Community Forest were yielding a high return, and it was cheaper to borrow the money than use the reserve funds. He added that there were other expenses coming up, including the replacement of some fleet vehicles over the next one to two years and the replacement of the primary fire engine in the next three to five years.
“We don’t want to totally exhaust that pot of money to finance a portion of [the public works building cost] and still have to get a loan through MFA,” he said. “It’s better financially to borrow at the low-interest rates we’re able to get through MFA and retain that money, either for anything disastrous that comes up that we haven’t planned for or to finance smaller purchases outright like a fleet vehicle or to get us closer to buying that fire truck.”
Chief Financial Officer Mandy McKague noted the Community Forest funds were never allocated to the public works building, although it had been discussed, and that council would have to officially allocate some of the funds to be used for that purpose.
Park asked for further clarification about getting voters’ approval for the loan, asking if it was village policy to go to the electors if a loan request was over a certain amount.
Daly replied there is no such village policy and that it depends on a municipality’s debt level as to whether they had to go to the voters. “Because of our low debt load and [because] we’ve been very fiscally responsible we’re not approaching the level where we have to take it to the electors at this time for this loan.”
Five year financial plan
Council gave three readings and adoption to the village’s five-year financial plan, which shows that there is no property tax increase in 2021 from the 2020 tax rates. The plan was accepted for information at the Dec. 9, 2020 meeting, and since then has had one adjustment: the addition of annual debt servicing of $58,596 for construction of a new public works building (see above).
Clinton rec site
The Clinton and District Outdoor Sportsmen Association asked if the rec site they put in above the tracks last year is suitable to be used for overnight camping. Association secretary Laura Paquette noted in a letter the desire to make the site a “legit” one, which was clarified as one where overnight camping could be offered, but said that it was unclear if it could be allowed there. Staff were directed to get more information about the status and ownership of the land in question (i.e. is it Crown land) and report back to council.