Asset management frequently surfaces as a strategic priority for municipalities, and it should. This aligns with good stewardship and the fundamental municipal purpose to maintain viable communities that thrive in the future.
Tagging asset management wording in the municipal strategic plan is not enough. Today’s municipal leaders have an opportunity and responsibility to chart the future course for their community. It is important that a local asset management strategy has corresponding bylaws and policies that actually accomplish goals to fund infrastructure.
Municipal leaders have some financial tools available to fund growth and plan for infrastructure replacement, such as development fees, off-site levies, local improvement taxes and other taxes. Though municipal financial tools are limited, municipalities can take steps to help themselves. Accessing grants from senior government is another key component to fund infrastructure projects since the magnitude of costs are far beyond the reach of municipal taxation alone.
The truth is that eventually some generation will need to bear the financial burden of infrastructure replacement. It is best to spread out the tax load to avoid desperate financial strategies where future leaders try to ‘catch up’ and deal with shortcuts from financially short-sighted past council decisions.
Here is another asset management article from Municipal World:
Shari-Anne is an Alberta-based municipal consultant. She is an advocate for good governance and strong decision-making practices.