Rookie councilor presents $4 million budget in Holyrood
The mil rate will stay the same for homeowners and businesses in Holyrood next year, despite the rising cost of operating the town and lower tax revenue because of declining property assessments.
That’s the main message taxpayers can take away from the town’s $3.97 million budget that was presented by rookie councilor and finance committee chairperson Laura Crawley on Tuesday.
“This has been council’s commitment to you – to safeguard our services and look to ways of improving and expanding without additional burden,” Crawley said. “How well we invest in and manage our infrastructure, including roads, electricity, water, sewer, recreational programing, and other services, has a huge bearing on our quality of life. The Town Council of Holyrood is committed to providing the best possible services to each of you so you may continue to enjoy this great place we call home.”
Crawley said council will invest in a “sustainable Holyrood” by fostering innovative business development.
“The success of this model is evident in the development activity at the Blue Ocean Industrial Park with the Marine Institute looking to begin their storage building and lay down area in 2022,” Crawley said. “Irving will also begin to build their truss plant on site in 2022.”
The Town is still working to bring a supermarket to Holyrood, she added.
“There are several companies who have requested professional office space at the Stores and investors are responding by proposing new building construction,” Crawley said. “We will continue to work with these investors and bring these new amenities to our town, setting the stage for new opportunities, new jobs, and new revenue through business taxes.”
Crawley noted the expansion to the Holyrood Marine Base is scheduled to be completed by August next year.
On the capital works side, Crawley said a safe, long-term drinking supply remains a priority.
“Holyrood has been experiencing periodic water supply problems within its water supply system due to a limited supply provided by the existing groundwater well system, with continued community growth the need for additional supply is necessary,” she explained.
On the tax side, Crawley said the eight-month payment plan with zero percent interest will remain in place. “Seniors receiving the GIS will receive a 20 per cent discount on property tax. We will also reach out to those families who have a combined income of $ 30,000 or less annually and provide them with a 20 per cent discount,” she said.
The Town will also continue to provide funding to the breakfast program and other events at Holy Cross Elementary and Roncalli Central High School.
“This category of our budget also provides $10,000 for the Holyrood Public Library, a contribution for the Holyrood foodbank, funds to support scholarships as well as other organizations requesting support throughout the year,” Crawley said.
The operational costs and supplies for the Holyrood Heritage Museum will also be funded.
The town will also fund another salary for a paid firefighter to fill its complement, said Crawley, and has applied for Crown Land for a training space.
“We have been approved for a number of projects in 2021 which will be actioned in 2022 including a $1.4-million sewer upgrade to our sewage treatment plant, a $1.6-million project to provide a 500,000-gallon water tank with the necessary capabilities to tie into our water system and a $1-million project recently approved to bring water further south along the Salmonier Line,” she said.
An application has also been submitted for $718,000 to complete a water improvement project.
“Your council is aware of the importance of protecting our planet and ensuring generations to come will live in a safe environment,” Crawley went on. “Council is committed to a composting pilot project and raising awareness of the importance of recycling. We will work diligently on securing funding to purchase a mechanical composter to enable us to truly provide a sound composting program to residents.”
Also in the plans is a sewer project upgrade and work to complete the trail master plan which was designed this past year.
“Council is currently reviewing the municipal plan and when that process is completed in late winter or early spring, there will be public consultations for residents and stakeholders to review the municipal documents and maps and to offer commentary,” Crawley said.
“2022 will be the beginning of acting on our Salmonier Line Recreation Park with the opening of two new courts,” said Crawley. “A multi-purpose court and a basketball court will be completed this year. There will also be improvements to the skate park and the community garden. The recreation department will review the Holy Cross Park operations and will hire personal to assist with providing safe family experiences at the park. The planned improvements are all about delivering safe memorable activities which families can take part without compromising public safety.”
Crawley said this council is a new one and it will carefully evaluate the needs of the town with the help of staff.
“Revenue sources are very consistent through the due diligence of taxpayers to their annual taxes as well as the support from residents and businesses through the various activities and events throughout the year,” she said. “You, the residents and businesses are key to council’s ability to deliver the programs and services we provide in Holyrood. Many of our programs and services are the envy of other towns of our size and we should certainly recognize the efforts of staff, both management and public works, who come to work each day committed to making a difference in the community.”