Harbour Grace wants a plan for old courthouse
Not all councillors on board with new tax structure
The Town of Harbour Grace is interested in finding a way forward for the old courthouse building. The 186-year-old structure is in rough shape, and the town agreed at its most recent council meeting to write the provincial transportation and works minister to ask whether it’s feasible for the town to maintain the building.
The town of Harbour Grace delivered its annual budget last Tuesday, a budget that is slightly larger than last year’s.
“There’s been a number of meetings, and a number of arguments and a number of debates, and this is what we’re going to put forward,” explained Coun. Kathy Tetford, chair of the finance committee, as she introduced the budget.
Though Tetford noted that there were no “exorbitant changes in revenue or expenses,” this year’s budget, sitting at $3,478,745, is about $570,000 higher than 2016’s budget of $2,912,638.
Tetford explained that the $400,000 annual operating cost for the Danny Cleary Community Centre was largely responsible for this increase.
For the coming year, $242,000 has been budgeted for the purchase of a new backhoe, utility trailer, and other “odds and ends” for public works.
The proposed tax structure outlined changes in the town’s taxes.
Vacant land property tax is increasing from $50 to $100 minimum. A minimum tax of $350 for vacant land was proposed in the 2016 budget, but was later changed to a $50 tax. This tax is now $100.
Also, domestic water and sewer tax, while remaining at $400, will now apply to vacant lots.
Tetford voted against this tax structure, saying she disagreed with both the $100 vacant land property tax, as well as the application of the $400 domestic water and sewage tax to vacant lots. Deputy Mayor Sonia William’s also voted against the proposed tax structure.
The town’s mil rate remained unchanged from last year, remaining at 7.75 mils.
Kathy Tetford voiced her concerns about the Town of Harbour Grace’s 2017 tax structure at last Tuesday’s council meeting.