Truro council approves tax increase as part of 2017-18 budget

Truro town council has approved a small tax rate increase as part of its 2017-18 budget, which was approved during Monday's regular meeting.

The residential rate will increase by one cent to $1.83 per $100 of assessed value, while the commercial rate will remain unchanged at $4.48.

In presenting the $27.4 million budget to council, Deputy Mayor Cheryl Fritz said the increase is needed to address additional financial stress brought on by growing financial obligations.

Fritz said the town has had to borrow money to deliver many projects in the past, and are currently using about 10 per cent of the annual operational budget to service debt.

She said while the town's debt has increased by about 80 per cent since 2008, tax revenue – town's main source of money – has increased by just 20 per cent.

Fritz said the town is still in a firm position financially, but will be limiting future commitments to projects that provide significant value to the whole community and carry a minimum debt requirement.

Fritz said they had to make some difficult decision in this budget, including dropping a proposed new firefighter position, and not filling the summer constable position and a vacant public works mechanic position.

The budget does include money for one new firefighter, which will bring the total complement up to 15 members.

The town has set aside just over $2 million in its capital budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Some of the major expenditures include $905,000 for road work, $179,500 for new public works equipment, and nearly $133,000 for the completion of the skate park.

Other budgeted projects include:

  • $106,000 towards a new dehumidification system at the RECC;
  • $100,000 for paving in Civic Square;
  • $100,000 for a maintenance shed at Victoria Park;
  • $60,000 towards the Regional Enterprise Network;
  • $56,000 for police equipment;
  • $30,000 for lawn bowling facility repairs;
  • $30,000 for a building inspection vehicle;
  • $20,000 for information technology hardware;
  • $17,000 for a police vehicle;
  • $16,800 for roof maintenance at the police station;
  • $15,000 for parks, recreation and culture equipment; and
  • $15,000 for a maintenance vehicle.