At a public meeting of Council on December 9th, 2019, Council adopted a balanced budget of $2,667,743 for 2020.
In developing this year’s budget, Council established the following goals: 1) Upgrade equipment/infrastructure, 2) Modernize & increase service level, 3) Increase communication & transparency, 4) Develop/update policies, 5) Increase the Town’s role in economic development, 7) Address concerns about abandoned and dilapidated properties in the community, and 8) Simplify the business tax structure.
Here are a few highlights from the budget:
- Electronic bill payment via Scotiabank will be introduced in 2020, allowing residents and businesses to pay their Town bills through their online banking platform.
- Senior Citizens on fixed income (current accounts only) will be eligible to pay their taxes over the full calendar year avoiding interest charges. Eligible individuals are encouraged to apply at the Town Office.
- Seasonal adjustments to water/sewer and waste management for vacant properties will no longer be permitted.
- The Recreation Director contract will be extended through till 12/31/2020 and the scope of the role will be expanded to include Economic Development.
- The South Side Mainline Water Line Replacement is planned for 2020 and will require the Town assuming $280,000 in new debt. The Government will pay the remainder of the $2.8 million project.
- A new dump truck will be purchased in advance of the 20/21 snow clearing season.
- A Visitor Information Centre will open at 25 Toulinquet Street in the Spring of 2020.
- The business tax structure has been simplified and new policies implemented. New policies include:
- If in operation 6 months or less, businesses are eligible for a 50% adjustment to their business tax and water/sewer, but never below the minimum. Eligible businesses can apply at the Town Office.
- Youth entrepreneurs (18 years or younger) are eligible to apply to Council for an exemption to business tax.
- Businesses in their first year of operation will only be charged business tax for their months of operation, but never below the minimum.
- Introduction of a business tax classification for small home-based businesses (unassessed), and an associated lesser minimum of $25.
- For water and sewer, accommodation businesses will be charged the minimum of $555/property or unit OR $165/room/annum, whichever is greater.
- Introduction of classifications of industrial/commercial water/sewer users including: minimal user – $555, moderate user – $555×2, moderate to heavy – $555×3, and heavy – $555 x4.5.
You can view the full Budget and the Updated Schedule of Rates & Taxes on the Town Hall section of this website.
If you have questions about the budget or how the implementation of new policies impacts you or your business, you are encouraged to contact the Town Office.