On May 27, United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) Council approved a key part of the effort to build a new Prescott and Russell Residence on Spence Avenue in Hawkesbury.

Under provincial regulation, the terms of financing and debt repayment limit had to be approved by council before the project could go to tender and receiving an infrastructure loan from the Ontario government.

The new residence is projected to cost $80,822,051 and will have 224 beds.  The UCPR wants the facility occupied no later than December 31, 2022.

The cost of the down payment for the UCPR is $11,864,975, which leaves a balance of $68,707,076.  UCPR Treasurer Valérie Parisien revised the calculations of the annual amount of debt the counties can withstand and found that the limit had not been reached and that there was an additional annual capacity of $8,822,939.

The treasurer’s report explained that a provincial regulation states that a municipal government can assume debt limited to 25 per cent of its own net source revenue (primarily through taxes), the debt associated with building the new residence does not exceed that limit.  Valérie Parisien’s report stated that the debt from the Prescott-Russell Residence project would only represent nine per cent of the UCPR’s source revenue.  The UCPR’s net revenue in 2019 was $56,463,392.

As a result of the favourable financial conditions, the UCPR is now able to apply for a $70-million loan from Infrastructure Ontario for the cost of the balance of the residence project after the down payment has been paid.

“The United Counties are in a good position for its level of debt,” remarked UCPR Warden Pierre Leroux.

UCPR Chief Administrative Officer Stéphane Parisien noted that provincial funding models will be reviewed later this year which he hopes will lead to an increased subsidy for the Prescott-Russell Residence.

Champlain Township Mayor Normand Riopel asked for a registered vote on the debt limit by-law.  All eight mayors voted in favour of it.

“We’re advancing to the next step,” said Leroux.

 Support for Séguin

On May 27, UCPR council also approved a contribution of $500,000 to the Centre d’accueil Roger-Séguin long-term care facility in Clarence Creek.  The UCPR already contributed $250,000 to the Roger-Séguin facility for 2020 but the not-for-profit institution wants to buy land to replace its existing building.  Council unanimously approved the additional contribution and it will be included in upcoming revisions to the UCPR 2020 budget.