Record-setting budget in Spaniard’s Bay
The Town of Spaniard’s Bay passed a record-setting budget on Dec. 20 for the community of 2,700, with nearly $ 2.3 million worth of spending lined-up for 2011.
The budget avoided increasing taxes and fees for residents, which may have been tied to revenues from new housing starts, which came in at 41 for 2010. Town manager Tony Ryan can recall years where there would only be a dozen homes built in a year, but over the last three, he says there has been a gradual increase in those numbers.
Amongst the more prominent expenditures for the town will be garbage collection, which now must take into account the need to transport goods to Robin Hood Bay and pay tipping fees of $ 51 per tonne. Deputy mayor Tony Menchions, who also chairs the finance committee, says three years ago the tipping fee cost only $23 per tonne, and in April it will rise further to $65.50 per tonne.
“It’s definitely a thorn in the side for communities,” says Menchions. The town has budgeted over $228,000 for garbage collection.
For recycled goods, Robin Hood Bay has offered a lower tipping fee of approximately $20 per tonne.
“ Recycling is definitely a good idea,” says Ryan. “ It’s something we should have done a long time ago.”
However, he says the incentive of paying a lower cost for disposal at Robin Hood Bay does not factor in the costs associated with having to find a private contractor whose compactor has multiple dumping bays to handle garbage and recycling. Thus far, the Town of Spaniard’s Bay has not introduced recycling into its waste collection.
Looming infrastructure projects include water and sewer lines for the major commercial development project planned near Veterans Memorial Highway. Ryan says it will be another six-to-eight weeks before the town gets the results of a study on potential flow rates generated by the new development.
The project, once it’s complete, will mean further tax revenues for the town.
“Our future looks very encouraging, both on the residential and business development sides,” says Menchions.
There is also money in the budget for road work on Church Hill, costing approximately $300,000. Menchions says the work is long overdue.
The town has also applied for funding to upgrade the sewer system in Northern Cove, and Ryan says it is waiting to hear back from the provincial government. That project will cost approximately $500,000.
The town will once again invest in a recreation director for the second year in a row. Menchions says the investment proved beneficial for the community in its trail run.
Along with strong housing numbers, the town is benefitting from a solid tax collection rate of 96 per cent.
The town saved money on snow clearing, though Menchions says much of those savings go into the maintenance of equipment.
A new backhoe is on the horizon at a cost of $160,000, and the rest of its f leet is in pretty good shape, according to Ryan.
The mil rate remains at nine for 2011, after having been decreased by half a point in 2010 to compensate for municipal assessments released the year before.