Bay Roberts adopts 2016 budget
The Town of Bay Roberts has come a long way since 1951.
For proof of that look no further than the town’s 2016 operating budget, which was passed during its regular council meeting last Monday. In 1951, the town’s budget was some $50,000.
For 2016, Bay Roberts approved a budget of $7.4 million, the largest in the town’s history.
Deputy Mayor Walter Yetman called the budget “a true testament to the hard work and dedication of past and current councils and staff ” in his address to council. Normally, it is the mayor who brings down the budget, but Yetman has performed the task for the past two years.
“Our fiscal year 2016, will be the third of this council’s four-year mandate where we will continue to practice responsible and efficient fiscal management,” said Yetman. “With this budget, we will continue to provide necessary core services to our residents, we will continue to upgrade and enhance current infrastructure and continue with out recreation, tourism and, beautification intiatives and improvements.
“Certainly all very important aspects of a well- rounded, successful community.”
An obvious highlight of the budget is the lowering of the town’s residential mill rate from 7.0 to 6.5 in light of increased property assessment values across the province. For the fourth consecutive year, Bay Roberts will not need to borrow any money to make the books balance and cover its operational and capital budgets.
Yetman noted that there are challenges ahead and “the list of needs and wants isn’t becoming any shorter.”
The town’s public works department will see a $3 million investment, with two-parts of that money being earmarked for operational water and sewer, as well as sanitation expenses. The remaining money will be allocated into the purchase of a new loader, continued improvements to infrastructure and either the repair or replacement of the Klondyke Bridge.
Bay Roberts will continue to invest in improvements to the Wilbur Sparkes Recreational Complex and the soccer field, along with a $25,000 capital grant being provided to the Bay Arena.
“Through government sources and fundraising, we are hoping money will become available to begin our much anticipated aquatic-wellness centre,” said Yetman.
Upgrades to the portion of the Conception Bay Highway dubbed the “Golden Mile” will continue, as well as an investment in the Goose Pond Trail in Shearstown in hopes of having the project completed in 2017.
There are also plans to invest money into the town’s fire department for the purchase of new equipment.
With this budget, we will continue to provide necessary core services to our residents, we will continue to upgrade and enhance current infrastructure and continue with out recreation, tourism and, beautification intiatives and improvements. Deputy Mayor Walter Yetman
The budget wasn’t the only item discussed at the council meeting on Dec. 8. Traditionally, the town uses budget season to nail down its new committee structure for the new year.
It was no different on this night; save for the discussion that occurred when the issue was tabled by Mayor Philip Wood.
Wood is responsible for meeting with councilors and then deciding who will sit on which committee.
Traditionally, that’s how it has been done in the town and earlier this year council passed its rules of procedure, which indicate “councillors shall be appointed to the committees by the mayor.”
That falls in line with the Municipalities Act. On the subject of committees, it states:
1) A town council may establish the standing or special committees that it considers desirable to consider and make recommendations on matters referred to them by the council.
2) A town council may appoint persons to serve on a committee established under subsection (1) and where a council does not appoint persons to a committee, the mayor shall appoint those persons.
“I had consultation with the Department of Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs … and it is the opinion of the manager that I spoke with that council does not have the power to give the mayor the power to supercede the legislation,” said Coun. Dawe-Roach.
It was moved that the town pass the committee structure as Wood presented it and then send it to the Department of Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs for scrutiny.
“We can have them look at it and tell us whether its right or wrong,” said Chief Administrative Officer Nigel Black.
Bay Roberts Deputy Mayor Walter Yetman delivers his budget speech during the town’s regular council meeting on Dec. 8.