Bay Roberts adopts 2016 bud­get

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cbn­com­pass.ca

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

Com­mit­tee dis­cus­sion

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.

PHOTO BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER/THE COM­PASS

Bay Roberts Deputy Mayor Wal­ter Yet­man de­liv­ers his bud­get speech dur­ing the town’s reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing on Dec. 8.

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