Placentia does more with less in 2017 budget
Loss of revenue from Vale forces town to scale back infrastructure spending
The Town of Placentia will spend a little less on capital infrastructure in the coming new year to make up for a loss of revenue, but it still has plenty of new ideas in the pipeline for 2017.
The town passed the budget by a 5-1 vote at the Nov. 22 council meeting. Coun. Noella Collins voted against it. According to minutes for the meeting, she believes the town should take over garbage collection from Eastern Waste Management and also has concerns about the services Placentia provides to Argentia.
The balanced budget will see the municipality spend almost $5.8 million in 2017. That’s down slightly from the $6.0-mil- lion budget passed for 2016. The tax agreement in place with Vale expired in 2016 as the company’s operations in the area winded down, accounting for a significant chunk of the town’s decline in revenue.
According to Mayor Wayne Power Jr., Placentia has adjusted some of its practices for maintenance, rentals and the use of consultants in order to reduce some expenses. The budget for capital infrastructure was also slashed from $1.36 million to $1.06 million for 2017.
One notable change for 2017 involves the hiring of a recreation and community-programming manager. The recreation master plan identified the need for year-round recreation and wellness programming, and the mayor believes this new hire will address that.
“By putting a focused person and focused direction there, we’re hoping to be able to accomplish that and provide good recreation service to all our residents,” said Power, adding the town will likely advertise for the position in January.
The infrastructure replacement we’re hoping to do in Dunville next year is a part of that, and we’ll hopefully move on that in the spring. Mayor Wayne Power Jr.
Mil rates for residential and commercial properties and water and sewer service will remain the same in 2017, despite the fact costs associated with the latter services continue to rise.
“The appetite was to maintain that until we were able to move forward further with improvements to the water supply that we’ve been planning for the last couple of years.”
On the topic of water, the town is set to replace 200 service lines in Dunville.
“We have had longstanding issues with the Dunville water quality,” said the mayor, noting a water supply review was commissioned in 2013. The review included recommendations the town continues to work through with the help of other levels of government.
“The infrastructure replacement we’re hoping to do in Dunville next year is a part of that, and we’ll hopefully move on that in the spring,” Power said.
One new feature of the town’s tax structure is the introduction of a vacant land tax of $150. New fees are also in place for after-hours service for non-emergency water shut offs and for water and sewer hook ups. Those applying for new development permits will also pay a 100 per cent refundable front landscaping deposit to ensuring that work is properly completed.
The town is purchasing a new fire truck in 2017 and introducing an automated notification system for emergency notices. A smartphone app to share information with residents and the general public is also in the works.
“That’s going to be of use to residents for local information, and we’re hoping tourists will be able to use it as well to learn more about the community, places to stay, places to eat and that type of thing.”
Placentia Mayor Wayne Power Jr.