By Chris Lewis | Vol. 32 No. 41 (Dec. 23, 2019)
Holyrood Mayor Gary Goobie says his town’s 2020 budget is a sign of good things to come.
The budget came in at nearly $4.1 this year, marking the first budget in the town’s history to surpass four million dollars.
“Holyrood prides itself in being a leader in municipal government, by ensuring that we engage in collaborative and strategic planning, informed decision making, and practical day-to-day implementation of wise investments,” Goobie said in his budget speech, last Tuesday.
Goobie said the town’s goal is to provide safe, reliable services to residents, without causing any unrealistic financial burdens.
This year’s budget features no tax or fee increases for residents or businesses.
Goobie highlighted some of the achievements of the past year, including the recent launch of the 44-acre Blue Ocean Industrial Park, and preparations for a 22,000 sq. ft commercial building.
“The fruit of our labour is becoming more evident each day,” Goobie said. “Companies, local, national, and international, see the value in Holyrood’s location, and the Holyrood business model. We are extremely proud that we have confidence in moving forward with determination, and assurance that we can make improvements without causing additional financial burden on our residents.”
Like this past year, in 2020 residents can pay their taxes over an eight-month period with post-dated cheques, without having to worry about interest.
Seniors can apply to receive a discount of 20 per cent if they are receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
Residents with a combined household salary of less than $20,000 are eligible for a 20 per cent discount.
Goobie said these features allow residents to benefit directly from the revenues that come in as a result of increased economic activity in the community.
Council has also managed to make a 50 per cent reduction in the vacant land water and sewer tax.
“This innovative approach to service delivery requires due diligence and careful thought,” said the mayor. “The town of Holyrood is very fortunate to have a dedicated staff, which ensures ongoing financial stability. As council continues to work closely with staff on these budgetary practices, we pledge to remain focused on further developing new, innovative ways of doing business to maximize benefits to the town and its residents.”
Goobie said Holyrood will continue to provide funding to the breakfast programs, and other events, at Holy Cross Elementary and Roncalli Central High School.
There is $10,000 allocated for the Holyrood Public Library.
Holyrood has seen a significant increase in population – some 400 new residents, or a 28 per cent increase, since the previous census.
Goobie said the Holyrood Volunteer Fire Department has seen increases and improvements, with two full-time firefighters added in 2020. He said this change is the direct result of the approach the town has taken to provide services to neighbouring areas, including Deer Park, Vineland Road, Salmonier Line, Middle Gull Pond, and Soldier’s Pond.
This year, there were 110 callout responses from the Department, and Goobie said the next goal is to provide the department with a new and improved station for equipment and services.
“Council and staff will continue to lobby for funding through our federal and provincial partners, and we are confident that we will have success in achieving this goal in the future,” Goobie said.