Har­bour Grace wants a plan for old court­house

Not all coun­cil­lors on board with new tax struc­ture

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MARK SQUIBB SPE­CIAL TO TC ME­DIA ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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.

TC ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Kathy Tet­ford voiced her con­cerns about the Town of Har­bour Grace’s 2017 tax struc­ture at last Tues­day’s coun­cil meet­ing.

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