Overt op­ti­mism in Spa­niard’s Bay

Coun­cil adopts 2012 bud­get; ex­pect­ing higher com­mer­cial rev­enues in fu­ture

The Compass - - PORTHTE - BY TERRY ROBERTS

Mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers in Spa­niard’s Bay are ex­press­ing op­ti­mism about the fu­ture, with the town ex­pect­ing to bol­ster its cof­fers in the com­ing years as the pro­posed Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial Busi­ness Park moves closer to re­al­ity.

That was one of the as­sess­ments of deputy mayor Tony Men­chions af­ter he brought down the town’s 2012 mu­nic­i­pal op­er­at­ing bud­get ear­lier this month.

“We’re go­ing to be a con­tender,” Men­chions, who chairs the fi­nance com­mit­tee, quipped fol­low­ing the Dec. 12 meet­ing.

Next year’s bud­get came in at $1.85 mil­lion, a slight de­crease over 2011.

Coun­cil unan­i­mously adopted the bud­get with­out any in­creases in prop­erty or water/ sewer tax rates for res­i­dents.

How­ever, coun­cil in­tro­duced a new sys­tem of tax­a­tion for com­pa­nies that plan to set up op­er­a­tion in the busi­ness park, which is lo­cated in Tilton, just off Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial Hi g hway. T h e comme r c i a l water/ sewer rates for busi­nesses were set at 2.1 mils, with a min­i­mum charge of $ 500, and a com­mer­cial per­mit fee of $ 7.50 per $1,000 of value.

“These rates, once in use, will cover the in­creased costs as­so­ci­ated with such a de­vel­op­ment and are in line with sim­i­lar busi­ness districts on the Avalon. These charges are not ex­pected to have any im­pact on our bud­get un­til 2013,” Men­chions stated dur­ing his bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion.

Af­ter months of spec­u­la­tion about the sta­tus of the mas­sive com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment, Men­chions ex­pressed op­ti­mism and con­fi­dence in the project, and sug­gested it will mean great things for Spa­niard’s Bay and the en­tire re­gion.

Asked about the lack of ac­tiv­ity at the site, Men­chions said it’s not un­com­mon for such projects to take four to five years to de­velop.

He sug­gested that the pro­jected tax rev­enue from the busi­ness park will dra­mat­i­cally change the town’s fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion, with a large per­cent­age of rev­enues cur­rently com­ing from prop­erty taxes.

“That gap should nar­row sig­nif­i­cantly when this park is up and run­ning,” Men­chions stated.

The town will also see a sig­nif­i­cant de­crease in the amount of money it pays in debt charges, with sev­eral large loans ex­pected to be paid off in the com­ing months. One of those loans re­quire monthly pay­ments of $16,000.

Men­chions said this will free up much­need funds for other cap­i­tal projects, in­clud­ing re­pairs to the sewer out­fall and paving on New Har­bour Road, Ridge Road, North­ern Cove Pond Road and Wharf Lane.

An­other no­table change in fees for 2012 is an in­crease in the amount charged for con­nect­ing to the mu­nic­i­pal water and sewer sys­tem. The rate has in­creased from $1,000 to $1,500.

“The new rate is more in line with the ac­tual cost of pro­vid­ing such a con­nec­tion,” said Men­chions.

Deputy Mayor Tony Men­chions presents de­tails of the 2012 op­er­at­ing bud­get for the Town of Spa­niard’s Bay dur­ing a meet­ing on Dec. 12. Also pic­tured are Mayor John Drover (left) and coun­cil­lors Eric Jewer and Brenda Sey­mour (right).

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