In­ter­est sav­ings, recre­ation high­light bud­get

Car­bon­ear ap­proves ‘pru­dent’ bud­get worth some $5.7 mil­lion

The Compass - - OPINION - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

The an­nounce­ment of the 2014 an­nual op­er­at­ing bud­get in Car­bon­ear should come as lit­tle sur­prise to res idents, w ith the mil l rate un­changed for this fis­cal year.

The town is on par with other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, in­clud­ing Bay Roberts and Har­bour Grace who have al­ready an­nounced they will not raise rates.

“(The town has) a pru­dent plan with a pos­i­tive per­spec­tive,” fi­nance com­mit­tee chair Coun. Ray Noel ex­plained dur­ing the bud­get ad­dress at the Jan. 13 reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing.

Ap­proved unan­i­mously, the $5,682,905 bud­get — some $200,000 more than 2013 — in­cludes some sig­nif­i­cant funds for street light­ing, snow re­moval, ve­hi­cle main­te­nance and street up­grades, to­talling 29 per cent of the bud­get. The to­tal is some $ 25,000 more than the pre­vi­ous bud­get.

In­ter­est sav­ings a pos­si­bil­ity

An in­ter­est ad­just­ment pol­icy was ap­proved at the Jan. 20 meet­ing, one week af­ter bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion.

The pol­icy states, “There are res­i­dents whose in­come is lower than av­er­age and it is a greater chal­lenge fi­nan­cially to pay their taxes in full by the due date (Feb. 28).”

Noel ex­plained those who qual­ify for this new pol­icy will be able to ap­ply and not have to pay in­ter­est on their house­hold taxes for a cer­tain pe­riod of time.

This idea has been in the works for more than nine months, with Coun. Ed Goff mak­ing the sug­ges­tion dur­ing a meet­ing last March.

To be el­i­gi­ble for the in­ter­est sav­ings, a res­i­dent must:

• be the owner of the prop­erty and live there a ma­jor­ity of the year;

• max­i­mum house­hold in­come has to be $30,000 or less and pro­vide a No­tice of As­sess­ment from the Canada Rev­enue Agency; • no ar­rears of pre­vi­ous taxes; • monthly pay­ment plan re­quired for 10 equal monthly pay­ments, and res­i­dent must sup­ply post-dated cheques, credit card num­bers or ap­proval of monthly bank ac­count de­duc­tions;

• monthly pay­ments can not be missed to re­main el­i­gi­ble; and

• in­ter­est ad­just­ment will be ap­plied upon the fi­nal pay­ment of taxes.

Recre­ation and en­ter­tain­ment

With more homes be­ing built, fam­i­lies mov­ing in and a new K-8 school, coun­cil has placed recre­ation on a pri­or­ity list.

Some $25,000 has been ap­proved for more play­ground equip­ment, with the first ex­pected to ar­rive later this spring. A to­tal of $67,300 has been al­lo­cated for parks and play­grounds.

Some par­ents have been re­quest­ing up­grades and ad­di­tional equip­ment for sev­eral years af­ter nu­mer­ous play­grounds in the town shut down, in­clud­ing the play­ground near South Side Lower Road, which is over­grown. But also Crocker’s Cove play­ground — one of only two re­main­ing— has been los­ing equip­ment, in­clud­ing a slide last fall, due to age and safety.

A to­tal of $40,000 has also been al­lo­cated for im­prove­ments to recre­ation fa­cil­i­ties, and Noel said the town will con­tinue to search for fund­ing for the town’s walk­ing trails.

Along with recre­ation, The Sheila NaGeira The­atre in the Con­cep­tion Bay Re­gional Com­mu­nity Cen­tre will also be get­ting an up­grade.

A new elec­tronic il­lu­mi­nat­ing sign worth $20,000 will re­place the older man­ual sign out­side the build­ing to an­nounce up­com­ing events.

The Com­pass has learned town of­fi­cials looked into the pur­chase last year af­ter sev­eral town work­ers re­quested a new sign be­cause of the safety is­sue with chang­ing the sig­nage — one let­ter at a time — on a lad­der in high wind con­di­tions.

Hon­ourar­ium in­crease for fire

depart­ment

Noel stated lo­cal fire­fight­ers will re­ceive an in­crease to honourar­i­ums in this bud­get.

In pre­vi­ous bud­gets, the depart­ment was given $27,000 for honourar­i­ums. This year it has gone up to $30,000. That amount will be shared evenly with ac­tive fire­fight­ers, said Fire Chief Ed Ka­vanagh. There are cur­rently 40 mem­bers in the group.

There were also funds slot­ted for “im­prove­ment and re­pairs” to the sta­tion build­ing.

The to­tal amount in the bud­get for the depart­ment is $114,781.

New job po­si­tion cre­ated

The town has also con­firmed a job

Car­bon­ear’s fi­nance com­mit­tee chair Coun. Ray Noel an­nounces the town’s 2014 bud­get.

is be­ing cre­ated — an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer.

Town ad­min­is­tra­tor Cyn­thia Davis could not give de­tails on the salary, job de­scrip­tion or hir­ing prac­tices yet be­cause th ey a r e s t i l l be­ing re­searched.

The job is ex­pected to be filled be­fore the busy sum­mer tourism sea­son.

Here are some other de­tails of Car­bon­ear’s 2014 bud­get:

• Coun­cil re­mu­ner­a­tion and travel — $70,000 and $13,700, re­spec­tively;

• Gen­eral ad­min­is­tra­tion — $575,900; • Com­mon ser­vices — $36,700; • Pro­tec­tive ser­vices — $176,511; • Trans­porta­tion ser­vices — $1,667,615;

• En­vi­ron­men­tal health (waste col­lec­tion, wa­ter sup­ply, etc.) — $717,575;

• Plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment — $190,337;

• Recre­ation and cul­tural ser­vices (swim­ming pool, parks, etc.) — $701,958;

• Mu­nic­i­pal and pro­vin­cial an­nual pay­ments — $661,327 and $249,071, re­spec­tively;

• Taxes and re­lated rev­enue — $4,612,892; and

• $7 mil­lion has been ap­proved over four years for multi-year cap­i­tal works fund­ing.

Photo by Melissa Jenk­ins/The Com­pass

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