By Alex Rinfret-Port Clements is raising property taxes by two percent this year, saying it needs the extra revenue to cover the ever-increasing cost of fuel.
The tax increase will bring in an extra $2,353 for the village. Chief administrative officer Terry McMullon said it will add $7 or $8 to the average Port resident’s tax bill. The village will collect a total of $120,000 in property taxes this year, compared to just under $118,000 last year.
The village presented its budget to the public Monday night (May 7), and gave first and second readings to the five-year financial plan and this year’s tax rate bylaw.
Mr. McMullon said Port will also be receiving additional revenue from the provincial government this year. The province has increased the unconditional grants it gives to small communities, and Port’s share will be $277,000 this year, compared to $120,000 two years ago.
Mayor Cory Delves said the budget keeps the tax increase “reasonable” while allowing the village to continue its usual business and undertake some fairly large projects.
The biggest project in the village this year, and the biggest item in the budget, is the multi-purpose/elementary school building, which is about to begin construction. Funding for the $3-million building comes entirely from grants and government contributions, and the village will not have to use any of its operating or reserve funds for construction, Mr. McMullon said.
Other major projects for this year are improving the Industrial Road (this project was completed in January at a cost of $99,000), repairing the government wharf ($200,000, with all money coming from a special fund from the federal government), building new concession stands at the community park (if grants come through) and resurfacing the track around the soccer field.
The village has healthy reserve funds, Mr. McMullon said, with $165,000 in a general reserve, $287,000 in the water reserve, and $190,000 in the sewer reserve. It has only one debenture left, for $12,000, and it will be completely paid off by the end of this year.
Looking forward, the village wants to put in a new water treatment plant at an estimated cost of $1.5-million, possibly by next year, and is currently looking for funding for that project.
Mr. Delves pointed out that council members did not increase their honouraria, the money they receive for serving on council. Council remuneration is set at $13,000 (total, shared among the five members) for this year, with $10,000 set aside for council members’ travel expenses.
Council will give third and final reading to its five year financial plan and tax rates at a special meeting tonight (May 10).
o Tax rates for this year: $5.95 per $1,000 of assessed value for residential properties, rec/non-profit and farm properties; and $11.90 per $1,000 of assessed value for utilities, light industry, business and managed forest.
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