Windsor councillors asked to consider levy for city road repairs

Windsor's road woes are at the centre of a report that councillors will consider at meeting of the city's executive committee on Monday evening.
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens reminded council Monday during a debate about a road levy that there is only one taxpayer. (CBC News)

City councillors have a lot to consider as budget season approaches, including whether or not to approve the adoption of a levy that would be used for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Windsor's problem roads over the next two decades.

On Monday night, the city's executive committee met to consider a report from staff that calls for council to direct administration to implement a 0.5 per cent tax levy for a 20-year period.

If the levy is adopted, staff anticipates the city could use the funds to reduce the amount of roads in poor or very poor condition from more than 196 km of roadways in this category today, to about 73 km by the end of the levy regime.

At Monday's meeting, the executive committee agreed to have council receive the report for information and refer it to the 2016 capital budget deliberations along with an accompanying presentation.

City staff are asking that council consider implementing a 0.5 per cent levy that would be directed toward the reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads in Windsor. (Geoff Nixon/CBC)

The executive committee does not have the authority to direct administration on matters before it. That's why the levy issue must go before council for it to move forward.

Coun. Rino Bortolin moved a motion at the end of the meeting calling on the city to approach the province and ask it to take back responsibility for the E.C. Row Expressway.

The expressway and its history in Windsor came up several times during Monday's meeting, with Coun. Paul Borrelli at one point raising the possibility of having other municipalities share in the cost of its upkeep.

Helga Reidel, the city's chief administrative officer, pointed out that if Windsor expects other neighbouring municipalities to chip in on the expressway, those municipalities, in turn, might expect the city to help pay for some of their own roads.

'There's only one taxpayer'

Mayor Drew Dilkens said that roads won't be the only thing that the city will have to pay for in the years ahead. That includes a significant contribution to the proposed mega-hospital.

"We know there is going to be a request for a hospital levy of around $100 million," he told reporters after the meeting ended on Monday night.

"There's only one taxpayer, one set of people that are paying these bills and it's up to council to decide what the priorities are."

Dilkens predicted that if residents had to choose between a road levy and a hospital levy, they would be more likely to support the hospital "because that's the priority for the community."

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