Township prepares to spend grants

Centre Welling­ton Township will have little difficulty in spending over $1.3-million in provincial grants – and much of it could be gone by the end of this year.

Council passed a required bylaw on Monday night that means the province will be sending a cheque for $875,595. It was part of an infrastructure grant from last month, the year end for the provincial govern­ment.

In the bylaw, the township had to promise it would spend the money on roads and brid­ges, and it also agreed to a re­quirement for a brief report outlining where the money will be spent.

The Ministry of Trans­por­tation, though, also stated that it could require an audit of any project the township chooses.

“Any funds intended for the project that are not used in ac­cordance with rehabilitation of municipal road and bridge capital investment needs or the terms outlined above will be returned to the ministry,” coun­cil agreed in its bylaw.

Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj said she has no fears at all in telling Minister of Trans­por­ta­tion Jim Bradley that all the money will be spend.

Councillor Bob Foster was curious about what conditions would “trigger” an audit of the grant project in the township.

He also wanted to know who would pay for for that audit.

Treasurer Wes Snarr ex­plain­ed the audit would be an option of the province, and the province would pay for it.

“In my experience, we’ve never been audited,” Snarr said.

He added that the province has been criticized for grants with no controls, so it attached con­ditions this time.

“In the past there were no audits, so the provincial gov­ern­ment took some heat,” he said.

When asked during ques­tion period which projects would receive priority, Ross-Zuj said the township has a priority list for  road and bridge work.

Snarr explained the money will be coming at the end of June, and that will get the town­ship time to prepare for extra road and bridge projects.

Snarr said once the money is in hand, “From that point, we’ll move as quickly as pos­sible to tender.”

Council also passed a resolution to receive a capital grant for a connecting link road. The provincial govern­ment is paying $532,800 for Highway 6 at Tower Street, in Fergus, and the south side of Belsyde Avenue to south of McQueen Boulevard.

Again, the township will have to file a report to the pro­vince after the work is done, and return any cash not spent on that work.