Booming in Bay Roberts
Budget continues tax freeze 2012; land allocated for business park
The feeling around the council table in Bay Roberts Dec. 13 was one of enthusiasm for the upcoming year as the town’s leaders adopted an operating budget for 2012.
The budget focused on the continued freeze of taxes for residents, as well as a noted commitment to infrastructure.
The overall budget has risen to $6.8 million, from the 2011 budget of $6.7 million.
Steadying the budget was the town’s lack of a tax increase across the board, including the hold of residential and commercial mill rates. The town welcomed the approval of 43 new building permits, bringing the total up to 171 permits since this current council’s term of office began.
Also contributing to the increase in revenue is an increase in the assessed values of residential properties in the town, from $224 million to $238 million — an increase of six per cent from 2011.
The town has enjoyed an increase in commercial activity, welcoming a number of new businesses over the past year, valued at $ 56 million, which is up from the $53 million of the previous year.
Mayor Phillip Wood started his budget speech with the acknowledgement of the work his fellow councillors have been doing over the past year, especially since they have been shorthanded for the last six months.
He painted a picture of a town on the rise, with some promising endeavours pointing to a prosperous future.
Wood did caution that there is work still to be done on improving the services to residents and businesses in the community.
A continued effort to reduce the amount of waste Bay Roberts sends to regional waste disposal site in St. John’s was the only negative aspect of the budget speech.
Efforts will be continued to ensure the collection of outstanding taxes in 2012.
“In order for the town to be successful and meet our commitments to all residents, it is essential that we collect what is owed,” said Wood.
Here are some of the budget highlights:
• Funds allocated for the purchase of two additional puckups;
• Debts charges rising to $1.95 million, or 28 per cent of total expenses;
• Proceeds from borrowing of $338,000 for 2012; • $12,000 for heritage projects; • $4.8 million in projected taxation revenue;
• $1.32 million to be spent on capital improvements;
• Public works dropping to $775,427, from $817,065. Business park “The council is looking forward to making major strides forward in the development of its business park,” said Wood.
The provincial government, through its Crowns Lands Division, recently gave final approval for the town to purchase 42 acres of land for the new park at a total cost of $247,000.
Wood said the land, which is located behind the Bay Roberts Visitor Information Centre on Veterans Memorial Highway, is a “significant piece of the puzzle … in seeing our park become a reality.”
The budget highlighted a drop in the money allocated for parks and recreation to $ 151,113, down from last year’s total of $166,117, or nine per cent.
Wood said the promotion of physical fitness and providing a variety of recreational facilities is an attractive feature in Bay Roberts.
“I note the allocation of funds to build or upgrade our facilities in Butlerville, Valleyview subdivision and the Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Com- plex,” he said.
With the addition of a new garbage truck, one with the capabilities to handle sorted garbage, Wood said there are plans to look at alternative waste collection, one of which is curbside recycling.
Councillors voted unanimously in their adoption of the town’s 2012 budget.
Councillors Walter Yetman (left) and Melvin Walsh listen as Bay Roberts Mayor Phillip Wood delivers his budget speech Dec. 13.