Warwick could be debt free by 2023

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If Warwick Township’s long range forecast goes as planned the municipality will be debt free by 2023.

And they will retain their spot as having the lowest taxes in Lambton County. “It’s an enviable place to be,” Mayor Todd Case explained at the unveiling of the 10-year capital plan. “We’re in a good financial position.”

Warwick’s 18-year relationship with Waste Management is paying big dividends with the estimated payout from its Twin Creeks landfill set at $28.6-M over the next decade.

A total of $19.5-M of that cash will be available for capital projects.

Twenty percent of new revenue streams will be allocated to reserves and debt repayment, while 10 per cent will be funneled to one of the township’s three development corporations, separate from the townships day-to-day operations.

According to treasurer Trevor Jarrett, estimates for 2016, indicate the township will take in $1.825-M in revenues from Twin Creeks, based on 665,000 tonnes of garbage coming into the landfill. In 2017, tonnage is expected to increase due to the closure of the Petrolia Landfill. Waste Management is planning to double its capacity at Twin Creeks and is currently awaiting final approval of the move from the Ministry of the Environment.

The goal, Jarrett says, is to develop a pay-as-you-go principle using taxes to pay for day-to-day operations, with no operating budgets and no new long-term debt.

There’s some debate as to the exact lifespan of the Twin Creeks project, as new technologies are allowing for further garbage compaction.

Warwick’s budget talks will get underway in January, before going to council for final approval March 22.  It’s expected the increase will be no more than three per cent.

One thing included in the 2017 budget is the creation of more residential building areas. “We’ve got few lots (now) to build on, to help ourselves grow,” Case adds.

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