Council approves borrowing $2.8M for replacement equipment

City council approved a bylaw to borrow $2.8 million on Monday to be used to replace city vehicles and equipment.

The loan, which may be for up to 10 years, required the city to engage in the alternative approval process because the term of the loan is for longer than five years. 

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However, the city only received 28 signatures from residents opposing the loan, city general manager of administrative services Walter Babicz said. The threshold of signatures required to trigger a referendum on the issue is 10 per cent of the city's registered voters, or 5,846 signatures, he said.

The majority of the loan – $2.3 million of the $2.8 million – is for the replacement of city mobile equipment, with funding for a parks water truck, general maintenance van and  janitorial floor scrubbers making up much of the rest. The bylaw also includes $35,00 for the purchase of a fire services rescue watercraft and $65,000 for a fire services wildland rescue utility vehicle.

City manager Kathleen Soltis said the money borrowed under the bylaw has to be used for the purposes laid out in the alternative approval process. The debt will increase the city's debt serving costs by $327,000 per year, calculated at three per cent interest.

However, Soltis said the actual borrowing rate will be less than three per cent.

"It's a very good rate," she said. "It's a very good deal."

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