Stephenville adopts 2019 bud­get

Lo­cal busi­ness leader sup­port­ive of re­sults

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - BY FRANK GALE

Busi­ness­man Bob Byrnes, who is known to be out­spo­ken, was a sup­porter of the Town of Stephenville Bud­get 2019 on Fri­day, call­ing it well rounded and ad­dress­ing most groups in the com­mu­nity.

He was one of four peo­ple from eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment to at­tend the spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing that had the sin­gle item of the bud­get on the agenda, which was adopted unan­i­mously.

The bal­anced bud­get rep­re­sents in­come pro­jec­tions of $8,490,325 and ex­penses of the same amount. The bud­get is on track with the past sev­eral years, which in­cluded $8.44 mil­lion in 2017 and 8.444 mil­lion in 2018.

Byrnes said he liked the fact that the res­i­den­tial prop­erty tax rate will be re­duced by .2 mills from 7.4 to 7.2 mills; the poll tax will be re­duced by $25, from $150 to $125; and new res­i­den­tial per­mit fees will be re­duced from $75 to $25.

In bring­ing down the bud­get, Coun. Mark Felix, chair of the fi­nance com­mit­tee, said to rec­og­nize the ef­forts of the many vol­un­teers who plan and host many lo­cal, pro­vin­cial and na­tional events in the town, coun­cil is pro­vid­ing a mar­ket­ing and pro­mo­tion grant of up to $15,000 to as­sist with their ef­forts.

Byrnes said this is a great idea, es­pe­cially since this money takes into ac­count what the or­ga­ni­za­tion brings to the com­mu­nity, from stays at ho­tels, eat­ing in restau­rants, to pur­chases made in the town by the vis­i­tors.

“This gives these or­ga­ni­za­tions money to off­set their costs and it’s a nice, in­no­va­tive strat­egy,” he said.

The bud­get also pro­vides com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment funds of $265,000, which al­lows coun­cil to sup­port the many not-for­profit groups ac­com­plish­ing great work in the town.

Also, coun­cil will make an­other al­lot­ment of $151,000 to its eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee, al­low­ing for the com­ple­tion of its three-year strate­gic plan and com­menc­ing its ini­tia­tives im­ple­men­ta­tion in 2019.

“We need some­one out there who is pro­mot­ing bring­ing new busi­ness to our town, and be­cause of the new eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fice this is pos­si­ble. You have to spend money to make money,” Byrnes said.

He said for many years the town didn’t have any­one to go out in the busi­ness world to pro­mote things like the town’s port and air­port, which are un­der­uti­lized.

Felix said the town coun­cil unan­i­mously agreed not to seek an in­crease in coun­cil re­mu­ner­a­tion for 2019.

He said coun­cil is on tar­get to com­plete a bal­anced bud­get for 2018 and be debt-free by March 2019. Felix said coun­cil is con­tribut­ing an­other $50,000 to its re­serve fund, for a to­tal of $100,000.

Coun­cil is pro­vid­ing any de­vel­oper with a house­hold sub­di­vi­sion agree­ment with the town with an ex­emp­tion from pay­ing prop­erty taxes on empty build­ing lots un­til the land is sold from Jan. 1, 2019 un­til Dec. 31, 2021.

Any time a se­nior has to move out of their home for res­i­den­tial care, the prop­erty taxes will only in­clude the in­come of the one se­nior re­main­ing in the house­hold.

FRANK GALE/THE WEST­ERN STAR

Af­ter bring­ing down the Town of Stephenville 2019 bud­get, Coun. Mark Felix, right, chair of the fi­nance com­mit­tee, dis­cusses as­pects of it with eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment representatives who were on hand, from left: Bob Byrnes, busi­ness­man; Scott Locke, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and Com­mu­nity Part­ner­ships; and Can­dace Si­mon, di­rec­tor of the same agency.

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