By Kyle Reid | for The Shoreline
Holyrood council voted yes on a 2019 budget which will see no new tax increases for residents and business owners, and will increase total spending by six per cent next year.
It was a generally status quo budget, friendly to both residents and business interests, presented by Mayor Gary Goobie during Tuesday’s council meeting. Spending next year will total nearly $3.9 million for the Town.
“Council has adopted prudent budgeting practices that permits us to ensure ongoing financial stability, good value to tax payers and strategic investments for the future,” said Goobie.
Goobie noted that the budget was planned to attract new business growth in Holyrood, adding last year the Town saw the creation of 70 jobs through new business initiatives.
“We are already engaged in activities which address that national objective for business development and we are continuing to mature our approach and extend our reach as we open the opportunities for new businesses and new jobs in Holyrood,” said Goobie.
The big ticket spending item for the Town in 2019 is in infrastructure, which will cost the Town of Holyrood nearly $1.4 million. Goobie noted that multi-year capital works projects which fall under that category will include nearly $1 million in water and sewer upgrades throughout the town.
Planning and development will cost the Town a total of $234,049, with Goobie noting the majority of the money will go towards reviewing and implementing the Town’s planning and zoning guidelines.
“This allotment of the budget will allow us to continue our work in diversifying our local economy and doing so in a well-planned and well executed fashion to ensure the future of Holyrood,” said Goobie.
The Town will also continue the tax payment plan for low-income residents, allowing them to avoid interest on late payments for at least eight months. The mayor noted council was also able to continue a program where residents who make less than $20,000 in total household income will see a 20 per cent discount on their property taxes.
On the recreation side, Holyrood residents can expect to enjoy a new community garden next year, as well as new parks and playgrounds. Next year, planning will begin on a new regional recreation facility, Goobie noted. The Town’s recreation budget clocked in at just over $250,000.
With new business growth in Holyrood, as well as residential growth that Goobie called, “slow but encouraging,” comes a need for increased protective services. Costing the Town just over $350,000 next year, Goobie said the Holyrood fire department has seen “great growth and expansion over the last year.” The mayor noted the Town intends to continue lobbying for funding to support a new or improved home for the fire department.
In total, protective services will cost an increased 11 per cent from last year, Goobie noted.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the Town of Holyrood is very aware of the importance of providing meaningful, reliable and safe services to its residents in a cost effective manner,” said Goobie.