New tax to tackle roads a focal point of 2018-19 Truro budget

The Town of Truro has passed slight tax increases and the creation of a new tax on Monday to help tackle road conditions and cost increases in 2018-19.

While the residential tax rate will remain unchanged at $1.83 per $100 of assessed value, the commercial rate will increase two cents to $4.50 per $100 of assessed value.

Deputy Mayor Tom Chisholm says the increase is to cover the loss of 0.3 per cent in the commercial tax base, which is an actual projected loss of $130,000.

The general operating budget is up two per cent over 2017-18 to $28,237,804, which CAO Mike Dolter says just covers a few cost increases and was kept that low after "major cutbacks in some areas".

The increase will allow for, among other things, an extra firefighter position, absorb a 2.5% increase through a CUPE contract, and allow improvements to Victoria Park Pool and Douglas Street Recreation Centre.

Council passes motion to create Road Preservation Tax

The capital budget has been set at $1,852,945 with just over half of that, $940,145 through the Federal Gas Tax Fund, for road work.

However, Chisholm noted the current state of the town's roads and the available funds to deal with the issue before announcing a new road preservation tax.

The rate will be set at $0.0425 per $100 of assessed value for residential assessment and $0.0375 per $100 of assessed value for commercial assessment.

It's anticipated that $342,000 will be raised through this new tax, with the streets to be worked on with these funds posted online, as well as how much money was brought in and used each year.

Any leftover money would be carried over to the following year's budget through a reserve fund.

Chisholm says this will allow council to address the thirty worst roads over the next five years and keep ensure another thirty remain in good condition over that period.

Sewer rate to increase

A sewer charge was introduced in 2016-17, and will increase by $0.07 for residential users in 2018-19.

That's a projected increase of $10-$15 for the average family per quarter in water billing, and $2-5 for individuals.

Chisholm says the bump will help cover operating and capital repayment expenses, as well as upgrades to the treatment plant and sewer infrastructure.

Streets identified for the first year of the Road Preservation Tax funds:

  • Esplanade – Young Street to Forrester Street
  • Prince Street – Whitman Street to Willow Street
  • Prince Street – College Street to Upham Street
  • Young Street – Fairview Street to Glenwood Drive
  • Willow Street – Glenwood Drive to McClures Mills
  • Arthur Street – King Street to Pleasant Street
  • Treaty Trail – Taner Street to Rachel/Marshall
  • Walker Street – Queen Street to Almon River Bridge