Council Approves 2018-2019 Operating Budget
Municipal Council at its regular monthly meeting held June 4, 2018 approved the 2018-2019 operating budget. The budget established expenditures at $17,443,018; an increase of 1.2 percent over the previous year’s budget. Some of the significant budget items included the Municipality’s Mandatory Contribution to Education which increased by 3.0 percent to $4,911,666. The Municipality’s contribution to solid waste programs decreased by approximately $150,000 due to a reduction in a recently awarded contract.
Coinciding with the acceptance of the budget was approval of the general tax rates for the year, which remain unchanged at $0.81 per $100 of assessment for residential and resource accounts and $1.82 per $100 of assessment for commercial accounts. The Municipal Council also approved many of its area rates with no changes to the sewer maintenance rate, street lighting rates and fire area rates. The Council did approve an increase of $12 for residential properties serviced by fire hydrants, as well as an 11 cent increase for commercial properties.
The 2018-19 operating budget continues many of the programs that Council supported in the past including maintaining its community and recreation grants. Council’s grants have been increased to $229,000, up $28,000 over the previous year while recreation grants remain at similar levels to the previous year.
The budget also addresses some of council key priorities by allocating money for the continuation of developing or rural connectivity strategy (internet and cellular service), a recreation strategy as well as a new communication plan.
The Municipality approved its capital budget which will see investments of $4.78 million in capital expenditures. Significant investments are being made in water and wastewater extensions in the Alma area and wastewater in Abercrombie. The budget also includes sidewalks extensions in Riverton and the Alma area near Northumberland Regional High School. The Municipality is also installing sidewalks on MacGregor Avenue near the Pictou County Wellness Centre to connect to the Town of Stellarton’ sidewalk.