GRAND BANK, N.L.
The Town of Grand Bank will continue to subsidize waste disposal in 2019 but not as much as in past years.
Each household will be on the hook for an additional $40.
Grand Bank council passed a balanced budget for the upcoming year with revenues and expenditures equal at $2,722,000 on Monday, Dec. 10.
Presently, the Burin Peninsula Regional Service Board charges towns in the region $170 per household for waste collection annually. Grand Bank has been paying $120 of that amount, which works out to $135,120, leaving taxpayers to contribute the other $50. The subsidy will be lowered to $80 for 2019 with the other $90 coming from residents.
With the difficult economic times and expenses going up every year, finance committee chair Coun. Stan Burt told The Southern Gazette after the meeting some extra revenue was needed.
He said council is trying to hold the line as much as possible while treating everyone equal.
“We looked at everything, but we felt probably the fairest one at this time was to look at the waste disposal fee,” Burt said, adding some consideration was given to increasing the amount charged per household to $100.
During the meeting, he pointed out residents of most towns on the Burin Peninsula pay the full waste fee.
The other minor change for next year’s budget was an increase in the minimum tax for vacant land, which is going up from $40 per parcel to $50.
The residential and commercial mill rates will remain the same – 9.5 mills and 10 mills, respectively. Water and sewer taxes for 2019 are once again $396. The poll tax will also remain at $375.
Burt acknowledged during the meeting out some property tax bills will be affected by the Municipal Assessment Agency’s recent re-evaluation, which occurs every three years.
“That really was out of the control of what the town could do there,” he said.
“Some people will see an increase; some people might see a small decrease, and I think Grand Bank was better off than a lot of the towns. I was talking to one town and they had an overall increase of 19 per cent in their property values for 2019, so we’re fortunate that way.”
The town remains debt-free, Burt noted, and as such is able to set aside some money for capital works projects. The town doesn't plan on borrowing money for that.
“Hopefully with the cooperation of all levels of government that we can continue to move ahead and improve our town for our citizens,” he said.
“We realize we got an aging community, but even considering all that, I think we got a beautiful town here, that people can be proud of what we got, and we got to maintain what we got.”
2019 budget highlights
Capital works applications
The Town of Grand Bank has applied to the provincial government for capital works funding for the following projects on a cost-shared basis in 2019-2020:
* Complete the final phase of upgrades on the town’s dam (estimated cost – $664,000);
* Water, sewer, curb and asphalt upgrades for Marine Drive from the Provincial Seamen’s Museum to Mistywave Crescent (estimated cost – $1,139,000);
* Dismantling and disposal of the Samuel J. Harris Building (estimated cost – $351,000); and
* Feasibility study for a new town hall (estimated cost – $58,000).
Other notable spending
* $75,000 has been allocated for a paving program to upgrade areas around the town
* Complete the first phase of the downtown/waterfront redevelopment project with funding from both the federal and provincial governments at an estimated cost of $1.6 million.
* Purchase a new pick-up truck and snow basket for the public works department
* Further upgrades to the town’s two trails, including new signage
* Upgrades to the warning track at the softball field
* New siding for the fire hall
* New equipment for the community park and new material around the equipment at the facility