Carbonear rolls out budget
Town lowers mil rate, increases taxes
Residents in the Town of Carbonear will see some relief from their inflated municipal assessments thanks to the town’s newly released budget.
Coun. Ray Noel, who chairs the finance committee, presented the 2016 municipal budget on Monday, Dec. 21.
The biggest changes will come in the form of a mil rate decrease for both residential homes and commercial buildings.
A full point deduction will be made to residential properties, going from 7.6 to 6.6, while commercial will go from 10.25 to 9.75.
This decrease in the residential mil rate will see taxes increase by an average of four per cent.
Noel calls it a modest increase in the face of approximately 20 per cent increases in property values.
He told The Compass that the council came to the decision by considering both the budget and the taxpayers, noting they didn’t want to be burdening homeowners with significant increases.
Along with the mil rate decrease, the town has also released its full budget. The Budget One of the first announced items in the town’s budget is the new public works depot. Since purchasing the land earlier this year, plans have been designed and construction is expected to get underway next spring.
Along with the new depot, additional funding has been allocated towards street upgrades, asphalt and sidewalk construction. A total of just under $1.9 million has been placed in the budget for transportation-related expenses.
With the changes to federal regulations on wastewater, Carbonear has placed $100,000 in reserve to help offset the potential costs of upgrading the town’s sewage output system. Regulations are expected to go into effect in 2020, and towns must cease dumping waste into the harbours.
Tourism has been a big item for the council over the last few years, especially with respect to revitalizing the downtown area. The town announced it would continue to seek funding for the downtown and continue to encourage businesses to invest in the area.
In addition to downtown Carbonear, more funding has been allocated to walking trails and enhancing local playgrounds.
In total, almost $900,000 will go towards culture and recreation, which includes the annual swimming pool budget.
One of the biggest changes involves the elimation of credit card payments. Over $43,000 was spent last year in credit card fees to the town. So next year, residents are asked to use Plastiq.com. Noel said this will take out the fees required for taking credit cards at the council office, but still give people the opportunity to pay with that method of payment.
Families with incomes of $35,000 or less are eligible for an interest reduction in their property and water taxes. This is up from $30,000 last year.
The total budget came in at $6,645,687, almost $1 million above last year’s budget. It was passed unanimously last Monday.