Harbour Grace releases budget details
$2.9-million in spending earmarked for 2016
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.
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.