By Mark Squibb/December 21, 2022
Despite rising inflation costs, The Town of Carbonear has balanced a $9.267 million budget without increasing either the residential or commercial mil rates.
Finance and Administration Committee Chairman Chris O’Grady presented the budget during a special meeting of council last Friday.
“As 2022 comes to a close, the Town of Carbonear, like most towns, is still dealing with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic,” said O’Grady. “The Town continues to be faced with inflationary costs and supply chain issues, as we are sure our residents have as well. Several capital works projects were postponed, or late starting in 2022 due to many factors, but residential and business development continued to expand. As always, we remain vigilant and have adapted to the new normal and become more steadfast in our approach… We’re very pleased to announce that this balanced budget will be attained without any increases in the tax rates. However, property assessment values are calculated annually by the municipal Assessment Agency and for 2023, the overall assessments have increased by five percent. Based on this, residents may see a small increase in their property tax invoice.”
O’Grady noted that due to delays of some projects and purchases there were expenditures budgeted that did not move ahead, resulting in a fund surplus.
“With this surplus being carried forward to 2023, work planned in 2022 but not completed will be completed in 2023,” he said.
One of those projects was phase two of the downtown revitalization program, which is funded by the federal government through ACOA and by the provincial government.
“While we hoped to have completed phase two this year, provincial funds have been approved for both phases two and three, so we hope to proceed with both phases in 2023,” said O’Grady. “This project includes water and sewer, pavement, enhanced sidewalks, signage, landscape, lighting, and charging stations.”
The Town’s largest projected expenditure is Transportation Services, some $2.9 million, which includes water and sewer services and road maintenance. It includes operating expenditures of $1.1 million for asphalt and $60,000 for curb and sidewalks.
The Town has also submitted in excess of $4.8 million in multi year capital work funding applications including water and sewer and street paving for parts of Cross Road, LeMarchant Road Extension, Beach Road, Water Street East, and White’s Road.
The Town has budgeted $1.3 million for recreation, including funds for maintenance and upgrades to recreation facilities, such as $50,000 to replace siding along the rear of the swimming pool building. The Town will also be implementing an online registration system for swimming lessons, which comes with a price tag of $7,250, plus a $2,000 one time set up fee.
The Town has also budgeted $860,000 for Environmental Health, which includes a commitment to complete Wastewater Systems Effluent Compliance Program Planning, while $407,000 has been budgeted for planning and development, including research into how to attract businesses to Carbonear to grow the tax base.
O’Grady said that in 2022 the town issued 374 development permits, nine new business permits, and nine home starts.
“Despite the rising inflation and lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Carbonear has shown growth and development,” concluded O’Grady. “This council is committed to maintaining a level of taxation which is reasonable and provides our residents an enhanced level of program and service delivery.”