Har­bour Grace releases bud­get de­tails

$2.9-mil­lion in spend­ing ear­marked for 2016

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

The Town of Har­bour Grace has a $2.9-mil­lion bud­get in place for the cur­rent cal­en­dar year, with money al­lo­cated for a va­ri­ety of projects.

Coun. Kathy Tet­ford, chair of the fi­nance com­mit­tee, shared de­tails of the bud­get dur­ing last Wed­nes­day’s coun­cil meet­ing. The bud­get was for­mally ap­proved at the March 16 meet­ing.

The town re­leased de­tails of its 2016 tax struc­ture ear­lier this year, but coun­cil elected to make one change. Where pre­vi­ously it was agreed a min­i­mum tax of $350 would ap­ply to va­cant prop­er­ties in the com­mu­nity start­ing this year in­stead of solely re­ly­ing on a mill rate, coun­cil has now de­cided to re­duce that min­i­mum tax fig­ure to $50.

The $2,912,638 bud­get rep­re­sents a small in­crease of about $50,000 com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year, ac­cord­ing to Tet­ford.

“We did see a big in­crease in the as­sess­ments, but then we de­creased the mill rate, so we still have some ex­tra funds to spend,” she said.

Most de­part­ments are work­ing with bud­gets com­pa­ra­ble to the pre­vi­ous year, though there are some ex­cep­tions. Salaries for ad­min­is­tra­tive staff were bumped slightly, with an ex­tra $11,000 al­lo­cated, while re­mu­ner­a­tion for coun­cil­lors — in­clud­ing funds to cover ex­penses — was re­duced by $3,000. On the flip­side, re­mu­ner­a­tion for fire­fight­ers was in­creased by $3,000.

An ad­di­tional $25,000 was al­lo­cated to the vol­un­teer fire de­part­ment to help with build­ing re­pairs to both the so­cial build­ing and the fire hall. Tet­ford said the town is also hop­ing some grant money will as­sist those projects.

The town bud­geted $27,000 to hire a part-time mu­nic­i­pal en­force­ment of­fi­cer, and a mo­tion passed at the April 6 meet­ing to ad­ver­tise for that po­si­tion.

Road main­te­nance spend­ing for 2016 is set at $502,500. Tet­ford noted the town spent ap­prox­i­mately $40,000 less than what was bud­geted for road main­te­nance in 2015.

On garbage col­lec­tion, the town spent $104,000 on tip­ping fees in 2015, which was be­low the bud­geted fig­ure of $115,000. Sav­ings re­al­ized there will go into a new bud­get item — beau­ti­fi­ca­tion and re­cy­cling.

A full-time re­cre­ation main­te­nance em­ployee will serve the town this year un­der the di­rec­tion of the sta­dium man­ager. This po­si­tion was pre­vi­ously a part-time job.

“The two of them will work to­gether to make sure all re­cre­ation fa­cil­i­ties and things are taken care of un­der the bud­get, be­cause it is a tight bud­get, and they re­al­ize it’s a tight bud­get, so we have to be care­ful of what we’re do­ing there,” said Tet­ford.

The to­tal bud­get 2016 is $108,600.

The mu­nic­i­pal park and his­toric sites spend­ing is up slightly from $29,000 to $30,000, and the sub­sidy for S.W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium will re­main the same at $50,000.

The town went over bud­get on wa­ter and sewer spend­ing in 2015 and there­fore de­cided to in­crease the bud­get for that item by $20,000 this year.

Tet­ford noted the town’s debt charge for 2016 of $380,671 is down slightly from the 2015 fig­ure of $393,687.

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AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

Coun. Kathy Tet­ford, chair of the Town of Har­bour Grace’s fi­nance com­mit­tee, de­liv­ers de­tails of the 2016 bud­get at the April 6 coun­cil meet­ing.

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