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City would need $1.4B to catch up on infrastructure deficit

Audit to help council in finalizing financial plan for the next decade
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Greater Sudbury is facing a $1.4 billion backlog in maintaining its infrastructure, building, fleet, and other assets, Auditor General Ron Foster says in his latest audit. File photo

Greater Sudbury is facing a $1.4 billion backlog in maintaining its infrastructure, building, fleet, and other assets, Auditor General Ron Foster says in his latest audit.

The findings on the state of the city's long-term financial planning will be presented at Tuesday's audit committee meeting. The goal is to give city councillors an overview of the plan in place to manage the city's assets, in particular the “operating and capital pressures, debt management, reserve funds, revenue generation and other financial policies. Strategies for each of these areas should be linked to the city’s corporate strategic plan.

“When the updated long-term financial plan and asset management plan are completed and presented, council will have a clearer picture of the city’s financial situation,” Foster writes.

The original long-term financial plan was adopted in 2002. Although limited progress was made dealing with it, successive councils didn't follow through on recommendations made in the plans presented to them.

That lack of follow-through is a big factor in explaining why the deficit has grown so large that the city is $700 million behind for roads and $345 million behind for water/wastewater.

The audit will be used to help staff as they prepare a long-term financial plan for the next decade, and to inform city council's decisions at budget time.

“Specific, measurable, action-oriented, and realistic goals should be developed to support achievement of the principles and policies within the new LTFP currently under development and incorporated into annual budgets,” Foster writes in the recommendations. “Progress toward the principles and policies within the new LTFP should reported to council within the annual budgeting process.”


Darren MacDonald

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