Council juggles ways to pay for Thunder Bay infrastructure

Thunder Bay's administration wants to spend millions in repairs on Golf Links Road, a new bridge on Court Street at McVicar's Creek, as well as money for the conservatory.

Thunder Bay councillors aim to keep tax hikes low

Proposed Thunder Bay infrastructure projects include four-laning Golf Links Road and fixing up the conservatory. (CBC)

City councillors in Thunder Bay spent hours Monday night debating how to pay for infrastructure.

City administration wants to spend millions in repairs on Golf Links Road, a new bridge on Court Street at McVicar's Creek, as well as money for the conservatory.

Council agreed the work needs to be done — but not all of the money is in place.

"We're near $16 million worth of things that we want to accomplish in 2014, yet we do not have the funding,” Councillor Mark Bentz said. “Is this essentially a wish list then?"

One way to pay for the list, without causing a big tax hike, is for departments find over $1 million in savings.

But Councillor Paul Pugh didn't like that idea.

"Now our city manager is telling us, because of the success in making operations efficient in previous years, in previous budgets, it's becoming increasingly difficult to achieve that $1.5 million,” he said.

In the end, council decided to change how it will fund infrastructure to include a tax hike, cut the city budget, and take money allotted for debt repayment and put it into roads.

The move is expected to help keep tax hikes a little lower.

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