No tax increase in Port for the third year in a row

  • Apr. 5, 2013 4:00 p.m.

Port Clements mayor Wally Cheer says the village will not be asking residents to pay more tax this year, in part because the local economy is still in recovery mode. Presenting the draft financial plan to the public Tuesday evening (April 2), Mr. Cheer said council worked hard to form a budget that would cover all the village’s expenses while keeping tax rates as low as possible. “If there’s no need, if we can possibly avoid it, all the council feels a tax increase is not warranted,” he said. “We believe that we have a budget here that works for our community, that didn’t require any increases over and above what’s prudent.” The draft financial plan also calls for a zero increase in water and sewer rates. This will be the third year in a row that Port has kept taxes at the same level. The village does expect to have to dip into its accumulated surplus this year as projected revenues will be slightly less than anticipated expenses. The draft budget projects a shortfall of $5,215, although council members said they are hoping that small savings throughout the year will cancel the deficit. The shortfall is mainly due to the village’s decision to do about $27,000 worth of major repairs to its large wharf this year. Administrator Kim Mushynsky said this expense will be partially offset by the sale of some village-owned lots earlier this year. The village sold three lots for $17,00 and still has one available (it’s at 5 Newcombe Avenue and is listed at $7,500). The village has an accumulated surplus of more than $870,000, plus $533,000 in a water reserve fund and $344,000 in a sewer reserve fund. Councillor Kazamir Falconbridge said the village has some aging infrastructure that should be replaced at some point, like old water lines, and this is a concern for the future. A member of the public asked when the village will have to drill a new well. Ms Mushynsky replied that the oldest well is still sufficient to supply the town, and a recent evaluation showed it was working satisfactorily. “It doesn’t look like we should need a well in the near future, in the next five years,” she said.