Councillor spooked by City debt nearing $100 million

Fellow councillors reject idea of workshop on the subject

Kamloops Daily News
December 18, 2012 01:00 AM

Maybe it's because he's facing his first mortgage, but Coun. Donovan Cavers is concerned the City's debt is nearing the $100-million mark.

On Tuesday, he tried to convince council to hold a workshop next year to look at the City's debt and whether a shift should be made to put money into reserves for projects rather than borrowing.

Or at least strike some kind of balance between the two.

"I'm not an expert on debt. It would be a good learning experience for me and some others on council," he said.

Some municipalities operate with very little debt, and Cavers doesn't like the idea that Kamloops will spend almost $500,000 on interest this year.

He got the support of councillors Pat Wallace, Arjun Singh and Tina Lange, but the rest of council disagreed with having the workshop.

Coun. Ken Christian said he wouldn't support the motion because it would imply council doesn't think about the costs it approves. And it does consider its spending, carefully, including debt, he said.

"There are opportunity losses by delaying capital improvements and risks to city due to wear and tear on capital if not replaced in a timely manner," he said.

Cavers raised the idea as council approved spending on three projects.

First, council approved borrowing $2.4 million to upgrade lighting on Tranquille Road between Leigh Road and Sydney Avenue.

Second, council approved borrowing $3 million to upgrade the sewer force main near the pulp mill that handles the South Shore sewage. The other half of the project's cost is being covered by development cost charges.

Third, council approved borrowing $3.3 million to widen Highland Drive and add a multi-use path along one side. Again, the other half of the cost was being paid by development cost charges.

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