The Local Roads Service Sheet (PDF) begins by presenting and explaining the costs incurred by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) to provide maintain the local road network in Sorrento and Blind Bay today. It was shown in the service sheet that MOTI spends approximately $7,500 per road kilometre to maintain the network. It was explained that this figure, which translates into an annual tax impact on a $400,000 home of $188.00, is considered quite low on account of the significant economies of scale that are available to MOTI, and the considerable purchasing power MOTI has to negotiate competitive maintenance contract rates.
It was noted in the service sheet that the same economies of scale and purchasing power would not be available to a new municipality in Blind Bay and Sorrento. It was estimated that the cost to a new municipality to achieve the current maintenance standards, provided by MOTI, would also certainly be higher — a range of $8,000 to $10,000 per kilometre of the paved road was estimated. The mid-point of this range — $9,000 per road km — is presented in Figure 5 as one scenario. The rate translates into an annual tax impact of $178.35 for a $400,000 home.
The service sheet went on to explain that, while a per km rate of $9,000 might be possible, experiences of other small municipalities suggest that it would be unlikely. Figure 4 in the service sheet showed the costs per road kilometre paid by seven small municipalities in the Interior — costs that ranged in 2020 from $11,295 to $23,250 per road km. In recognition of these higher actual costs incurred today in small municipalities, the consultants created a second scenario that envisions a per-kilometre road maintenance cost of $13,500, and that adds a further $200,000 per year to assist with road capital works. This second scenario, which would translate into an annual tax of $319.67, was accepted by the Committee.
Would the community receive a higher level or broader range of road maintenance services for the higher amount? The municipality would provide the same range of services (e.g., surface treatments, drainage maintenance, snow removal, roadside maintenance, traffic signage and markings) as MOTI. Based on the experiences of small municipalities, however, the services would be provided at a higher level than that which the community is receiving today. The change in level would be attributable, in part, to having local staff or locally-accountable contractors involved in delivering the services. These staff/contractors would, based on experiences elsewhere, be able and expected to respond more quickly than at present. Maintenance and service standards are also higher in the small municipalities surveyed than those in place today in Sorrento and Blind Bay.
It may be important to note, as well, that infrastructure and transportation planning would be undertaken by the municipality upon incorporation, rather than centrally by the Ministry. This localization of the road planning function is perceived by many as important and may result in a higher level of service.