At least 10 signs appear in a one block span of Martin Street for the new bike lane. The city wants to borrow against its utility reserves to pay for the $4.7 million second phase of the bike lane. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

At least 10 signs appear in a one block span of Martin Street for the new bike lane. The city wants to borrow against its utility reserves to pay for the $4.7 million second phase of the bike lane. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

Penticton looking at pulling from utility reserve to fund $4.7 portion of bike lane

The bike lane project is one part of $47 million in capital spending for 2022

The city of Penticton’s draft budget for 2022 includes funding the Lake-to-Lake bike route by borrowing against its electrical utility reserve.

The $4.7 million second phase of the bike lane is just one project being looked at as part of $47 million in capital spending for 2022.

Most of the general projects would be funding through the city’s capital reserves or from development cost charge funds.

The bike lane, upgrades to the city’s advanced waste water treatment plant, and realigning Galt Avenue to incorporate the roundabout at Skaha Lake Road are among the seven projects that would be financed through borrowing.

The bike lane would be funded by borrowing against the city’s electrical reserve, general manager of finance Jim Bauer told media at a presentation of the draft on Nov. 8.

“With internal borrowing we borrow from one our own reserves and we’re not bound to be paying interest on that, and because of the healthy reserve we have in our electrical utility, we would be using that as our borrowing source,” said Bauer. “So any of our projects we would contemplate with internal borrowing, we would borrow from that fund and pay it back over a period of time.”

READ MORE: Penticton gears up for 2022 budget process

The city’s advanced waste water treatment plant upgrades would be financed externally by borrowing from the Municipal Finance Authority, which would constitute $3,320,809 of costs in 2022, as well as a further $7.6 million in borrowing between 2024 and 2026.

Due to the city’s current low debt levels, according to Bauer, the city would not need to seek assent from the public to approve a bylaw for the external borrowing.

Between the seven financed projects, the city would have to borrow $6.78 million in 2022 internally, and $9.62 million externally.

In total, the city is looking to spend $16.1 million on general capital projects, $11 million in water utility projects, 11 in sewer utility projects and $8.2 million in electrical utility projects.

The Western News will be diving into the city’s draft operating budget and the associated 8.5 per cent tax rate increase in a separate story.

READ MORE: Penticton looking at potential 8.5 per cent tax increase

The draft 2022-2026 financial plan and corporate business plan are available online at shapeyourcitypenticton.ca as well as physically from the city’s information kiosks at city hall and the Penticton library.

Feedback can be provided between Nov. 8 through to Nov. 19 either online through shapeyourcitypenticton.ca, or by filling out feedback forms available from the info kiosks.

To learn about the 2022-2026 Financial Plan, open houses are scheduled to run Nov. 17 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre and Nov. 18 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. with COVID-19 protocols in place for both in-person events. Attendees are reminded that COVID-19 protocols are in place for both in-person events.

There will also be alternative online information sessions for businesses Nov. 9 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and the community session on Nov. 15 from 7 until 8:30 p.m.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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