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Town holds the line on mill rate

May 20, 2014 12:00 pm | Sam Macdonald

St. Paul residents won’t see an increased mill rate on their 2014 tax notices, but it’s quite likely their tax bills will be higher than last year due to increased property assessments in the community.

Council voted unanimously Monday to hold the line on residential and commercial mill rates, approving the 2014 budget with a forecast net surplus of $563,596, comparable to the 2013 year end surplus of $595,000.

Initially, Coun. Ken Kwiatkowski voiced his concerns about keeping the mill rate the same, saying, “I would go with a higher mill rate, for the reason that we’re not sure how much extra things like the Wellness Centre may or may not cost. There’s a lot of progress in town, and a lot of things getting started this year.”

Council agreed at its last meeting to move forward with completion of the north side of the Wellness Centre.

“I think for us to be able to move forward, we’d need to increase the mill rate. It’s better than ending up with a deficit, whatever the situation. We don’t want to start cutting projects, and keep the town from moving forward.” Kwiatkowski said.

Mayor Glenn Anderson disagreed, saying, “I think we did diligently last year. I think we shouldn’t change the mill rate,”

“It’s a healthy surplus, we should leave it the same,” said Coun. Edna Gervais.

Total revenue before taxes from the town’s operations is pegged at $6,194,203 with operating expenses accounting for $10,940,482. An additional $676,546 in capital expenses is coming from general operations. The Town is forecasting total tax revenues to be $7.9 million. Of that, $1.8 million is education property tax requisition and $117,000 is the MD Foundation requisition, leaving just shy of $6 million in tax revenue for town coffers.

Taxes for the 2014 budget include residential taxes at a mill rate of 9.5471, and commercial taxes at a mill rate of 18.9095

Operational expenses for the mayor and council come to a total of $212,916. These expenses include remuneration for mayor and council totaling $165,000.

General administration expenses for the Town of St. Paul altogether are $3.2 million. Some of the more significant expenses associated with general administration include salaries and wages totaling at $460,000, benefits at $120,000, professional and consulting legal fees at $180,000.

Expenses for police services total $1.5 million and $393,353 for fire protection. By-law enforcement services have a total cost of $247,850.

Expenses for common services – public works total just over $3 and transportation expenses come in at $695,700. Water supply and distribution services cost is $1.2 million, and sewage sanitation and services total $402,872. Garbage collection is budgeted for $402,789.

The Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) administration and program delivery price tag is $189,390.

The Wellness Centre has a total operating cost of $221,960. On the revenue side, the Wellness Centre shows an income of $138,660, which includes rent of $104,080 plus an additional $20,000 in rent revenue for the north side of the building, which the Town aims to complete this year. Funding of $600,000 has been allocated in the capital budget through MSI grant money for that work.

Capital expenses

The Town’s 2014 capital budget is projected to be $3,570,459 with $676,546 coming from the Town’s general operations. Capital projects are aided by a number of provincial grants including the 2014 MSI Operating and Capital grants and federal funding in the form of the Basic Municipal Transportation Grant (BMTG), and the Federal Gas Tax Rebate (FGTR).

Some of the capital projects that grants will cover include the purchase of a new garbage truck for the town costing $240,000, and a snow blower and snow blower loader for $144,408 and $220,000 respectively. These items will be covered by the MSI Capital Grant.

A substantial expenditure covered by transfers from reserve funds is the cost of repairs to the roof of the Clancy Richard Arena. The repairs cost a total of $360,000.

Capital projects that include significant amounts of federal funding from the FTGR include five blocks of sidewalk construction costing dependent on where it’s needed for $210,000, a screening unit for the St. Paul Pollution Control Centre costing $130,000 and overlays to be used for town road rehabilitation, costing $125,000.

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