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Charlottetown’s 2018 budget doubles for snow clearing, paving, plus money for new equipment

Gordon MacDougall, a truck driver with Charlottetown’s public works department, checks his vehicle on Wednesday. The city’s budget contains money for a new plow truck along with assorted other equipment.  ©THE GUARDIAN
Gordon MacDougall, a truck driver with Charlottetown’s public works department, checks his vehicle on Wednesday. The city’s budget contains money for a new plow truck along with assorted other equipment. ©THE GUARDIAN - Dave Stewart

The City of Charlottetown has set aside almost $10 million for snow clearing and street resurfacing.

Coun. Melissa Hilton, chairwoman of the city’s finance committee, brought down a $66.8 million budget on Wednesday, and a large chunk of the cash went to the public works department.

The city will be spending roughly the same amount on repairing streets, about $3 million, as it did last year.

“Every year you’re never sure how the streets are going to react to the type of winter we have,’’ said Coun. Terry Bernard, chairman of the public works committee. “This year, although winter was easy on snow and the amounts of snow, it was certainly hard with the freeze-thaw cycles and the amount of salt that was put on. You’re hearing now there are a lot of potholes.’’

Bernard said the city will tackle streets in need of repair the same way it has in the past, based on a worst-to-first criteria, even though just about every councillor would love to see every street in the city get fresh pavement.

“If you drive around the city, you see the roads are going to need some repair.’’

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As for snow removal, the budget has doubled. Don’t forget that the city is at the beginning of a 15-month budget cycle, Jan. 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. Next year, it will match up with the province’s fiscal year, April to April.

Until then, the city has two winters in this budget to worry about, which explains the $6.2 million set aside. Normally, the city spends about $3.6 million a year.

“We went out and did a lot of work with our contractors, got better equipment, so that cost us a bit more.’’

There is also money in the budget for new equipment.

“We have a fleet budget of $1.5 million, and there are a number of items we’ll be looking to purchase, such as sidewalk machines, new plow trucks, new hot asphalt machines for the potholes. So, there’s a number of upgrades that we’re looking to make.’’

Coun. Terry Bernard

Specifically, there will be seven new sidewalk plow machines, one new plow truck and one new hot asphalt machine.

And, one other change. The city will be doing its own sidewalk clearing this year rather than relying on contractors.

Dave.Stewart@TheGuardian.pe.ca

Twitter - DveStewart

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