Interest savings, recreation highlight budget
Carbonear approves ‘prudent’ budget worth some $5.7 million
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
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.