Bay Roberts tax rates hold steady in lat­est bud­get

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@CB­N­com­pass.ca

Tax rates will stay the same and an in­creased em­pha­sis will be placed on cap­i­tal in­vest­ment as part of the Town of Bay Roberts’ bud­get for 2015.

Coun­cil unan­i­mously ap­proved the bud­get at its fi­nal meet­ing of 2014, held Dec. 9 at the town hall.

Over­all spend­ing will be down slightly in the 2015 bud­get, with ex­pen­di­tures set at ap­prox­i­mately $7 mil­lion. For 2014, that fig­ure was just over $7.3 mil­lion.

Deputy Mayor Wal­ter Yet­man, chair of the town’s fi­nance com­mit­tee, said the town is putting it­self in a good po­si­tion by once again avoid­ing the need to bor­row money to pro­duce a bal­anced bud­get. It will be the third year in a row that’s been the case.

How­ever, Yet­man also noted there are chal­lenges still ahead for the town of just un­der 6,000 res­i­dents.

“We’ve all been around and talked about the re­ally good things that are hap­pen­ing and the re­spon­si­ble things we are do­ing, but we have to note we have chal­lenges ahead.”

He noted the need to do a bet­ter job on tax col­lec­tion. The town is cur­rently owed $1.2 mil­lion in out­stand­ing taxes. With rev­enues from the res­i­den­tial sec­tor down, Yet­man said the town must also find ways to in­crease its rev­enue.

For now though, he said it makes sense to re­main fis­cally re­spon­si­ble.

“It’s a chal­lenge sit­ting back and try­ing to cut all th­ese well needed items off the list, but year after year, we re­al­ize we’re im­prov­ing our po­si­tion, and when we do go for that large pur­chase or a ma­jor project, or when we do need some­thing that we have to get right away, it’s go­ing to be a lot eas­ier for us to do it.”

One area the town is pri­or­i­tiz­ing with its lat­est bud­get is in­fra­struc­ture and equip­ment spend­ing. A bud­get al­lo­ca­tion of just over $1.5 mil­lion for cap­i­tal in­vest­ments is the largest fig­ure ever al­lo­cated for pur­chases of that kind.

New side­walks and roads will take up much of that cap­i­tal in­vest­ment to­tal — $875,000. The town will also pur­chase a new garbage truck. A re­port from the town CAO and di­rec­tor of pub­lic works found that ten­der­ing waste and curb­side col­lec­tion is less cost ef­fi­cient than han­dling the ser­vice in­ter­nally.

The lo­cal fire hall will ben­e­fit from some build­ing up­grades, and im­prove­ments will also be made to the Wil­bur Sparkes Recre­ation Com­plex.

The town will con­tinue to of­fer dis­counts for taxes paid in ad­vance of the March 31 dead­line — five per cent for most res­i­dents and 10 per cent for se­niors.

One new in­cen­tive in this bud­get for se­niors liv­ing on a low in­come will let them go through an ap­pli­ca­tion process to pos­si­bly ex­tend the tax dead­line for get­ting a dis­count.

The col­lec­tion of fire pro­tec­tion fees from Port de Grave and Bare­need is still an is­sue for the town. In light of that fact, it’s elected to in­crease the rate for home­own­ers in those ar­eas from $75 to $100. New rates are also in place for small boats and plea­sure craft ($100), large boats and fish­ing ves­sels ($150), and busi­nesses ($200).

Photo by An­drew Robin­son/The Com­pass

Deputy Mayor Wal­ter Yet­man dis­cusses the Town of Bay Roberts mu­nic­i­pal bud­get for 2015 dur­ing coun­cil’s fi­nal meet­ing for 2014, held Dec. 9.

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