Mount Pearl raised taxes for 2014 because of the loss of provincial funding and an increase in regional expenses, says Mayor Randy Simms.
Mount Pearl Mayor Randy Simms. — Telegram file photo
Simms, speaking Wednesday at the Mount Pearl-Paradise Chamber of Commerce’s annual mayor’s outlook luncheon, said raising the city’s residential mill rate from 6.7 to 7.4 mills represented the city attempting to take just what it needed for expenses — just as it did the year before when it lowered taxes from 9.2 mills.
“This year, we got hit with an extra $2 million that we need for regional services,” said Simms at the luncheon at Hotel Mount Pearl to about 80 people, including MPs Ryan Cleary and Jack Harris — and visiting Victoria MP Murray Rankin — MHAs Steve Kent and Paul Lane, and Paradise Mayor Dan Bobbett.
“It was three-quarters of a million dollars in provincial money that we lost. Yes, we picked up an additional $3 million in capital, but that meant we had to come up with a additional $1 million of our own if we were going to capture that
$3 million. I don’t know about you, but any time I put 30 cents on the table and the other guy gives me 70 to make the dollar, I’m going to do that every opportunity I get.”
Mount Pearl in 2014 is coming off its second-biggest year when it comes to spending on development, and will have its largest budget ever — $43.2 million — and raising taxes was necessary to continue to provide the services residents expect, said the mayor.
“There was only one other thing to do: cut services. In a city that’s committed to improving them? Not on your life,” said Simms.