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.