Water tax rates raised in Mount Pearl

Dave Bartlett
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Like St. John’s, C.B.S., property and business taxes to remain steady

Mount Pearl Deputy Mayor Jim Locke, who is also chairman of the city’s corporate services committee, delivered the city’s 2012 budget Tuesday. Like both St. John’s and Conception Bay South, property and business taxes stayed the same, but the water rate has gone up. In Mount Pearl’s case, residents will pay $50 more a year for water. — Photo by Dave Bartlett, The Telegram

People who live in Mount Pearl will pay $50 more a year for drinking water.

But like the city of St. John’s and the town of Conception Bay South — which also raised water taxes — property and business taxes will remain steady in 2012.

Deputy Mayor Jim Locke, the chairman of Mount Pearl’s corporate services committee, delivered the city’s budget Tuesday.

He said the new water tax will be $600 per residential unit.

“The commercial and metered rates will be adjusted accordingly,” Locke said.

Half the budget for services and wages

The budget “reflects continued fiscal responsibility, environmental progress, innovation and improved services in all departments,” said the deputy mayor,

“By trimming expenditures and planning important — but expensive — capital projects on a phased-in basis, we were able to settle on a final (budget) of $38.9 million, the highest in the history of our city,” Locke continued, but he added the rate of growth in spending over last year is “just four per cent.”

Locke told his colleagues on council there are expenditures the city has little control over and said half the budget goes towards regional services and staff wages.

The city will pay $7.6 million, or about 20 per cent of its 2012 budget, for fire protection, water and waste water, public transit and garbage disposal.

Another 30 per cent, or $12 million, goes to paying both unionized and non-unionized staff and related payroll costs.

“We are proud to pay our employees fairly for the great work that they do on behalf of our city all year long,” Locke said.

The third major component of the budget relates to building and replacing city infrastructure, but Locke pointed out council has a little more control over how much it spends on capital works.

“The demands placed upon the city to address the infamous infrastructure deficit facing all municipalities across the country are high,” he said.

Locke said council had to choose from a list of equipment and capital works projects which totalled $29 million.

“To avoid increasing the city’s debt load, $8.7 million in capital spending ... was approved,” he said.

That money will come from both general revenue and gas tax revenue and will be combined with money received from other levels of government to complete projects totalling $18 million in 2012.

Locke said that will include upgrades to streets and recreational facilities.

Mount Pearl will also begin construction on a new recreation multi-plex next year  at an additional cost of $7 million.

The city will maintain a debt ratio of six per cent, which Locke called “a sound fiscal position to be in.”

It will also set aside $700,000  for community groups and events including the Frosty Festival winter carnival, Mount Pearl Sports Alliance, Admiralty House museum and the Seniors Independence Group.

Locke said Mount Pearl will also continue its tax discounts for seniors in need and other low-income people and will continue to exempt daycare centres and personal care homes in the city from business taxes.

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Mount Pearl Sports Alliance, Admiralty House

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, Conception Bay South

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Recent comments

  • Jeremy Snow
    December 21, 2011 - 12:39

    Its time they fixed the traffic problems on mount carson ave to commwealth ave and stoped spending money on pools and hockey rinks. It can take up to 15 minutes to get down the hill. Waste of time and gas. The tim hortons on commonwealth is big probem as well.

    • McLovin
      December 21, 2011 - 13:03

      They are in the process of fixing it, it's called the extension to the Brad Gushue Highway. The hope is that once that project is completed, the amount of traffic travelling between Kenmount Road and Old Placentia Road/Commonwealth Avenue will decrease significantly. I guess time will tell.

  • Eli
    December 21, 2011 - 11:46

    Ditto with the Municipal Police force in CBS. CBS has become a real employment agency Ffiscal responsibility went out the window with the Smith administration and continues with French. That water tax has gotten just like the Airport Improvement Fee. That started as $5 and is now $20. Far as I'm concerned Municipal Taxes should be just that, not separate taxes for anything else like water, permits and licences and useless police.

  • McLovin
    December 21, 2011 - 09:12

    The City of Mount Pearl nearly doubled the salaries of some of its Senior Managers, they gave (yes GAVE) away land to an established private developer (who isnt even from Mount Pearl) and also gave $5000 to the Senior Blades hockey team and they want to try and justify a raise in the water tax? Why? The water tax has increased by over 100% in the last six years. Has the quality of the drinking water gotten any safer? Their council meetings are broadcast online. Residents of Mount Pearl should start watching and paying attention to how their tax dollars are being spent.

  • Jonny
    December 21, 2011 - 08:21

    I guess the increase in revenues will go towards financing the ever useless Municipal Enforcement in da pearl

    • Cal
      December 21, 2011 - 08:58

      I agree more money for the absolute USELESS MUNICIPAL ENFORCEMENT. There are vehicle parked everywhere and doing everything and the only thing you see from them is the truck drive by with the cab full of useless employees. DOING NOTHING AT ALL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Political watcher
    December 21, 2011 - 08:18

    Yet again Mount Pearl follows St. John's to the "T"; for once I would like to see them get creative and make an independent decision.

  • Jack
    December 21, 2011 - 08:12

    Although Special Olympics in Mount Pearl is growing, I'm ashamed at Randy Simms for not giving this reputable non-profit organization doing great work for intellectually disabled persons a grant. If the Government of Canada is giving more money to Special Olympics Canada, perhaps now is the time for provincial and municipal governments to follow suit with provincial and regional chapters.

  • Jack
    December 21, 2011 - 08:08

    Guess I won't be listening to "Talk Back With Randy Simms" radio shows anymore as he's against cities and towns raising taxes, but goes against his word in raising taxes in Mount Pearl. Beware the "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" and Randy Simms is one of them. People want lower taxes as dictated on your radio shows Randy, not higher.