SPANIARD’S BAY, NL — Spaniard’s Bay council presented their annual budget during a regular council meeting held Monday night, Jan. 8.
Deputy Mayor Darlene Stamp presented the budget, which allocated $2.29 million in spending, a slight increase compared to the 2017 budget, which was set at $2.22 million.
Stamp’s report started off with council expenditures. According to the municipal councillors remuneration act, towns are permitted to allocate two per cent of local revenue for remuneration, which, as Stamp stated, was estimated for 2018 to be $38,000.
“The 2018 budget is presented with no proposed increases to rates and fees,” said the deputy mayor. “Property mil rate is to remain at six mils and minimum property tax will remain at $480. Water and sewer rates also remain unchanged over last year. Overall revenue is increased by $28,461.”
However, the budget also indicated a number of decreases in certain areas compared to the previous year.
Property assessment services, which were mentioned fairly early in Stamp’s report, are set at $47,385, which is a $1,615 decrease over 2017. Likewise, water and sewer services are budgeted at $179,700 – a $6,000 decrease compared to 2017. Stamp noted that there was also an estimated decrease in the cost of sewer pump repairs or replacements of approximately $10,000.
Garbage collection and disposal saw a $28,000 decrease over the 2017 budget, with a $253,475 budget for 2018.
“The big contributor to this decrease is that the decision to tender for garbage collection came in significantly less that we were paying to Eastern Waste for garbage collection and disposal,” said Stamp of the decrease.
The budget for recreation, set this year at $67,500, also saw a $2,300 decrease over 2017’s budget.
However, not all sections of the budget saw decreases in estimations.
“The (fire protection) budget for 2018 is $36,400. Council will continue to fund additional equipment and training this year in the amount of $12,000 as we started in 2013,” said Stamp. “Please note that this number does not reflect the costs associated with fuel, repairs and maintenance, or equipment financing costs. Council will once again be making application to Fire and Emergency Services under the fire protection equipment financing program once the department has established its priorities for 2018.”
Animal control, a cost shared by Spaniard’s Bay, North River, and Clarke’s Beach, also saw a $4,500 increase over 2017’s budget at $43,640.
Spaniard’s Bay is forecasting a debt service ratio of 17.26 per cent, as opposed to 17.84 per cent for 2017. Along with a unanimous vote to adopt the balanced operating budget for 2017, and to accept the 2017 rates and fees, council also motioned to apply for funding under the municipal capital works program on a 50/50 cost sharing basis to complete road reconstruction at Mint Cove Pond Road North and Brown’s Road, as well as to apply for funding to purchase and install a new emergency backup generator for the chlorination plant, also on a 50/50 basis.
In addition to this, council motioned for the public works committee to prepare tender specs and call tender for the supply of a new dump truck with a plow and sander.