Boom­ing in Bay Roberts

Bud­get con­tin­ues tax freeze 2012; land al­lo­cated for busi­ness park

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

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.

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