Nfld. & Labrador

No tax increases for Conception Bay South in latest budget

The mill rate is holding steady in the province's second-largest municipality.

Budget 2020 maintains mill rate after town finds savings

Conception Bay South Mayor Terry French says the town has an 'aggressive' debt-management strategy. (CBC)

The mill rate is holding steady in the province's second-largest municipality after the Town of Conception Bay South found enough savings to avoid tax increases.

The town tabled a $37.8-million budget on Tuesday evening.

It's the second year in a row Conception Bay South has reduced spending and maintained the mill rate at 7.15 for residential properties and 11.5 for commercial properties.

"Early on, we came here with a commitment to look at every single dime we've spent," said Mayor Terry French. "That's what we've done."

The town has also come up with an "aggressive" debt-management strategy that will see them reduce payments by $700,000 next year, he said.

They came up with the money through going after people who owed on property taxes.

We haven't borrowed money in the last couple of years.... That's one of the key factors.- Terry French

The budget sets aside $3 million for things like street upgrades, paving and installing sidewalks around town with a priority for school zones.

French said sidewalks are an issue in the various communities that make up Conception Bay South, which are all joined by Route 60. Most of the road doesn't have sidewalks.

"We're starting to catch up," he said. "Many of our school zones now, you will see sidewalks."

There's also $1.7 million for snow-clearing operations, which includes 24-hour coverage seven days a week.

The town will also do away with a $450 permit for home builders, in hopes it will spur new development. It's being eliminated for one year only.

New home construction is at a 50-year low in the province. The Town of Conception Bay South is trying to make things easier by waiving a permit fee for new construction. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

French said the new budget very much mirrors the one from last year, which also made efforts to reduce borrowing and lower costs at a time when the price of town business was going up.

"We haven't borrowed money in the last couple of years," he said. "So that there alone has saved us a significant amount of money this year and really that's one of the key factors why we've been able to maintain some of the cost increases."

The budget also includes:

  • Investment in new technologies, like online bookings and payments.
  • Progression of a recreational facility that serves as a splash pad in summer and ice rink in winter.
  • Live-streaming of council meetings.
  • $90,000 for traffic-calming measures.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Cecil Haire

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