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SUDBURY, Ont. — Blaming amalgamation costs of more than $10 million, the City of Greater Sudbury’s councillors warn they’ll need to cut spending on much-needed infrastructure improvements this year.

“It’s too bad that we’re entering this new city with a $10-million shortfall, but we have to deal with it,” Coun. Eldon Gainer told local media after Sudbury council had its first look at a $344-million draft budget. Gainer, and other city officials, say they’ve now seen the costs associated with municipal amalgamation exceed the $32 million mark.

Historically, municipalities in the Greater Sudbury area have spent about $18 million annually to upgrade roads and water and sewer systems. Gainer says that represents only one-third of what should be spent to adequately maintain the municipal infrastructure; those plans will have to be delayed.

Beginning next year, however, city council should be able to use savings from amalgamation to increase infrastructure spending, adds Gainer, who chairs council’s budget deliberations.

“I don’t think we’ll be looking at major (tax) savings” next year, he explains. “I think we’ll be looking at an infusion in capital spending.”

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