Marys­town adopts re­duced bud­get for 2017

Coun­cil ask­ing de­part­ments to find pos­si­ble cost sav­ings

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BY PAUL HERRIDGE

Marys­town coun­cil passed a bal­anced bud­get for the com­ing year with a small re­duc­tion in rev­enues and ex­pen­di­tures from 2016 dur­ing its reg­u­lar meet­ing Tues­day, Dec. 20.

The 2017 bud­get has been set at $7,457,857, less $232,243 than the cur­rent year.

Finance com­mit­tee chair­man Deputy Mayor Al Spencer pointed to a down­turn in the econ­omy on the Burin Penin­sula in the past year dur­ing his com­ments, not­ing the town has also seen less tax rev­enue.

As such, he said coun­cil has de­cided to lessen the im­pact to res­i­dents by ask­ing all de­part­ments to find as much ef- fi­ciency as it can.

“This process was started by the direc­tors in late 2016,” Spencer said.

“How­ever, coun­cil feels that each depart­ment of the town must be thor­oughly looked at in the com­ing months to iden­tify other pos­si­ble ar­eas of cost sav­ings for 2017 and be­yond.”

Spencer said res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial mill rates have been kept the same, at seven mills and eight mills, re­spec­tively.

While wa­ter and sewer rates are also stay­ing the same, due to high costs, tax re­mis­sions of­fered to some or­ga­ni­za­tions are be­ing re­pealed.

Poll tax, devel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions and li­cence and per­mit fees will all re­main un­changed, Spencer added.

“We have been able to main­tain our taxes on the lower end of the scale com­pared to sim­i­lar-sized towns and other com­mu­ni­ties on the Burin Penin­sula,” Spencer said.

“Although this bud­get shows a de­crease, it will not re­sult in any down­grad­ing or loss of ex­ist­ing ser­vices of­fered to res­i­dents of the town.”

Spencer said while debt char- ges show a de­crease of $52,683 for 2017, the amounts will in­crease in the years ahead as other on­go­ing cap­i­tal works projects are com­pleted and fi­nanced.

The town, mean­while, will of­fer res­i­dents a new way to pay their taxes in 2017 by in­tro­duc­ing a preau­tho­rized debit plan. Res­i­dents who are not in tax ar­rears will be able to make 10 equal pay­ments with no in- ter­est charges.

Spencer said more in­for­ma­tion will be avail­able about the plan on the town’s web­site soon.

Coun­cil has also been dis­cussing a joint pi­lot project with the Burin Penin­sula Re­gional Ser­vice Board to es­tab­lish a mu­nic­i­pal en­force­ment of­fi­cer in the com­ing year, Spencer said.

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