Marys­town mil rate cut; taxes still climb

The Southern Gazette - - NEWS - BY PAUL HER­RIDGE

Marys­town res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial prop­erty own­ers are get­ting a break in this year’s tax rates, but many will still end up pay­ing more.

The to­tal bal­anced bud­get came in with rev­enue and ex­pen­di­tures at $5,111,353.

Fi­nance Com­mit­tee chair Coun. Dave Bren­ton, who tabled the mu­nic­i­pal bud­get for 2010 dur­ing Tues­day’s pub­lic meet­ing, ex­plained coun­cil had de­cided a re­duc­tion from 9 mils to 8.5 was in or­der to help ab­sorb high prop­erty as­sess­ment in­creases.

An is­sue in many com­mu­ni­ties through­out the prov­ince, as­sess­ments in Marys­town went up 21 per cent on av­er­age last fall.

Coun. Bren­ton sug­gested coun­cil could have re­duced the rate a lit­tle fur­ther to wipe out the in­creases en­tirely, but likely would have had to raise taxes slightly re­gard­less to cover the many projects and de­vel­op­ments that have been un­der­taken in the town.

“Right now, over the last year or year and a half, our coun­cil has been very am­bi­tious in my opin­ion.”

Ac­cep­tance of the bud­get, how­ever, was not unan­i­mous.

Coun. Charles Wis­combe voted against the mo­tion to adopt the fi­nan­cial doc­u­ment, as well as an­other one to set the in­ter­est rate for over­due taxes – due this year on or be­fore Apr. 30 – at 12 per cent an­nu­ally.

He later ex­plained his de­ci­sion did not re­flect on the ef­forts of Town Clerk/Man­ager Den­nis Kelly or Trea­surer Shirley Labour.

“It’s some things that I per­son­ally looked at. I won’t re­hash what I said (in the ses­sion prior to the coun­cil meet­ing) be­cause I don’t want to grand­stand. I didn’t like what was said out there to me. I’ll say that pub­licly.”

Coun. Bren­ton in­di­cated ear­lier in the meet­ing coun­cil would re­ceive $931,877 through the Gas Tax Fund over the next four years. Dur­ing the bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion, he ex­plained a de­ci­sion had been made to ap­ply the money against the town’s share of bor­row­ing for fu­ture wa­ter and sewer projects.

It was noted do­ing so would help bring the town’s in­creas­ing debt ra­tio back down to a more comfortabl­e level.

He said be­tween 25 to 30 per cent is an ac­cept­able amount for a town of Marys­town’s size was, but ex­plained lately the debt ra­tio was in the 31 to 32 per cent range.

“Be­cause of all this work we’re do­ing, our debt ra­tio was start­ing to creep up.”

Mayor Sam Sy­nard, who sug­gested coun­cil has “run a tight ship” bud­get­wise, ac­knowl­edged he was pleased. He sur­mised he could fore­see the bud­get grow­ing to up­wards of $6 or $7 mil­lion in the years ahead.

“I think Marys­town, as a small, ru­ral com­mu­nity, we’re in great fi­nan­cial shape.”

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