Council passes budgets, slight tax increases in Truro for 2019-20

The Town of Truro has passed its general operating and capital budgets for 2019-20 with a few slight tax increases.

The general operating budget has increased two per cent from last year to $28.8 million.

Deputy Mayor Tom Chisholm says the increase includes absorbing such increased expenses as 2.5 per cent more through the CUPE contract agreement, estimated wage increases for police and firefighters, $60,450 for regional enterprise network, $435,000 for capital reserve funding.

The capital budget is set at $2,304,475, an increase of nearly $500,000 from 2018-19.

Just over $1.2 million has been earmarked for street repairs, with federal Gas Tax Funds being used for work on Arlington Place, Muir, Faulkner, Harmony, and Palmer Streets, finishing work on Adelaide Street, and for sidewalk upgrades on Robie Street.

The residential tax rate will increase by two cents to $1.85 per $100 of assessed property value, while the commercial rate remains at $4.50 per $100 of assessment for another year.

The town introduced a road preservation tax last year to tackle the thirty worst roads in the town over the next five years to prevent them from needing costly complete rebuilds.

To further that initiative, the town is introducing a one cent increase which will set the residential rate at $0.0525 per $100 of assessment, and the commercial rate at $0.0475 per $100 of assessment.

Chisholm says it's estimated this will generate $434,733 for street preservation.

These funds are earmarked for road preservation only, with any surplus carried forward to the next year, targeted streets publicly disclosed on the town's website, and status updates on the work.

The sewer rate will go up by 10 cents for those with consumption under 1250 cubic metres and five cents for consumption over that amount.

Chisholm says that will result in the average family paying $7-8 more per quarter through the sewer rate and $2-4 more for commercial users.