No tax increase in Port

  • Mar. 21, 2012 2:00 p.m.

Port Clements is holding the line on property tax increases this year but will be looking for a slight increase in water and sewer fees, according to the financial plan that council presented to the public Monday night. Mayor Wally Cheer said council members agreed during several weeks of budget discussions that now is not the time to be asking residents to pay more tax. “Until we see some prosperity in this community, I don’t think there’s a stomach for property tax increases,” he said. “That was agreed on by everyone.” Council members have absolutely no intention of increasing their own remuneration, Mr. Cheer added. The 2012 budget is not much changed from last year, although the village does plan to spend a bit more on tourism, he said. The total amount of property tax to be collected is $124,865, the same as last year. (Although the overall amount is the same, it is possible for individual owners to end up with a higher or lower tax bill if their property assessment changes by more than the average.) The village plans to hike water and sewer rates by 2 percent as of July 1. This increase will amount to about 60 cents per household per month, or about $7.20 more a year. Mr. Cheer said there was much discussion about the decision to increase the utility rates. The raise was needed to cover the costs of running the water and sewer systems, he said. Meanwhile, administrator Kim Mushynsky said the village had a small surplus in 2011, and now has an accumulated general surplus of more than $700,000, an accumulated water surplus of $460,000 and an accumulated sewer reserve of $324,000. Port has had lower accumulated reserves in the past, Ms Mushynsky said, and it’s good to see them at this level. Mr. Cheer agreed. “As a council, we feel more comfortable with a rainy day fund that will protect us from any disasters,” he said.