Monday, November 19, 2018

On October 17, 2005, city council received the results of a service delivery review entitled Service Satisfaction and Priority-Setting Study. The objective of this study was to determine what you the residents wanted council to spend your tax dollars on.

The survey highlighted repeatedly that the major area of discontent to the residents was the state of the cities roads and the area that needed the greatest attention. Roads received the highest importance and usage rating but scored the lowest satisfaction.

Improving infrastructure and road systems are the two priorities, you, the taxpayer told council to focus on and make our TOP PRIORITY.

When asked 'What other issues do you think are important to the citizens of Niagara Falls right now?' the majority response was Infrastructure and Roads.

When asked 'Are there any specific services you would like to see increased?', roads was once again the majority answer. Ninety seven percent said that the conditions of the roads was very important to your household.

On December 6, 2004: Council received an Infrastructure Management Report from our staff engineers indicating that we had $65.7 million in water, sewer and road infrastructure work in need of IMMEDIATE attention: $12.5 for the Water system, $25.2 million for the Sewer system, and $28 million for the Road network. The staff presentation accompanying this report also told us that 23% of our roads were in poor or very poor condition.

Then we received the Pavement Management Summary report, on January 31, 2005, and had our hired engineering consultants tell us that the longer our roads are left to deteriorate, the more it will cost the taxpayers in the long run. More and more roads, every year, are passing that point of no return, where no longer can we just repair or rehabilitate them. They need instead, because they have been neglected for too long, to be reconstructed, at a cost of four to five times more. The consultants pointed out that we are spending 1.8% of our asset value - that is of the value of our roads - to maintain it, and that this simply was not enough. They spelled out that our current road need then was $20 million, of which $7.1 million needed to be done THAT year - 2005 -- just to maintain the status quo and save the roads that could still be saved. Anything less than that, and even more roads would need to be rebuilt, at four to five times more cost, in the future.

I voted against the 2006 budget this past March because despite knowing that the residents directed council to put roads/ infrastructure as our top priority and our paid consultants told us that we must immediately invest more money into these areas the 2006 budget did not include any additional dollars over what had been spent in 2005. We are spending roughly $4.1 million dollars a year less than we should on our roads. The overwhelming debt council has agreed to borrow will make it very difficult to put the needed dollars into the areas that most require them.

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