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Harbour Grace cuts costs, avoids tax increases

By Patrick Newhook/December 23, 2021

Rather than raise taxes, Harbour Grace council has opted to enact some cutbacks next year in order to balance its 2022 budget.

Councilor Sharon Reynolds, who chair’s council’s finance committee, presented the plan at last week’s public council meeting.

“This was not an easy budget,” Reynolds admitted. “Input was gathered from all departments in finding ways to decrease costs and still provide a realistic budget, with no tax increase for our residents.”

The taxation and spending plan weighs in at $3,590,095.

Reynolds said the town had to make cuts to various departments and to the councilors’ remuneration in order to make it work.

“We have had to prioritize our capital work projects and ask for a 10 percent decrease in all departments as well as our elected members of council, pulling together to also take a 10 percent cut to help this budget for 2022,” said Reynolds.

Mayor Don Coombs described the budget as a strong path forward for the town. He thanked everyone for their input in the preparation of the budget.

“The easiest thing you for you to do when you can’t balance your budget is to increase taxes or reduce expenses,” said Coombs. “That’s the only two options that you have. Fortunately, we found a way right now to balance the budget by reducing the expenses and we didn’t have to go back to the taxpayers of Harbour Grace and we didn’t have to increase taxes.”

The budget for town administration next year is $202,098. Last year’s figure was $248,310, which shows a savings of $46,211.

“The decrease was due to not replacing the assistant town clerk position and restructuring within our office,” said Reynolds.

The budget was passed unanimously by council.

“It took a lot of work, fortunately we didn’t have to increase taxes but we did have to call our department heads in and all department heads cut the expenditures back 10 percent from two years ago, the 2020 budget,” Coombs said. “Council also cut back their remuneration for travel expenses back 10 percent and we rearranged our capital projects to make it a balanced budget with no burden on the taxpayer account, so it’s a good budget and it’s a budget that was needed.”

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