GRAND BANK, NL – The season for municipal budgets has begun.
The Town of Grand Bank presented a balanced budget of $2.667 million during its council meeting on Monday, almost identical to last year’s $2.686-million budget.
There are no tax increases in the budget: the mill rate for homeowners remains 9.5 mills, the commercial property rate is 10 mills and the poll tax stays at $375.
Water and sewer taxes will continue to be $5 and $28 a month, respectively, for a total of $396 annually.
The waste collection fee from the Burin Peninsula Regional Service Board will remain at $170 per household for 2018. Council will once again subsidize $120 of the total amount, charging residents $50.
So far to date, 98 per cent of all taxes have been received by the town for 2017.
The town is committed to making major asphalt repairs and upgrading water and sewer.
Council has identified a $60,000 paving program to upgrade areas around the town in 2018. As well, a project is planned to extend the water main on Old Road.
Funding has been identified for complete the first phase of the downtown/waterfront redevelopment project. A new pickup truck will be purchased for the public works department. Upgrades are coming to the nature trail, the softball field and the community park.
A 6500-watt back-up generator will be purchased in case of power outages at the fire hall. There will also be new roofing on the meeting room area of the building.
The provincial government has approved the town for a municipal capital works project to upgrade the town garage in 2018. The work will include a new roof, siding, windows, garage doors and electrical upgrades. The total cost of the project is $529,600 with the town contributing $193,000.
An application has been made for the 2018-19 provincial budget for municipal capital works funding in the amount of $663,290 to complete the final phase of dam project.
With funding from the federal and provincial governments, a $296,000 project will modernize the Grand Bank Swimming Pool with new lighting, a new heat and circulation system, electrical and filtration upgrades, new pool heaters and a new interior colour scheme.
“The town is in good shape,” Mayor Rex Matthews said. “We’re debt-free, which is important, and we’re in good financial standing.”
Grand Bank is one of just a few towns in the entire province without any debt.
“We’re pretty proud of that, and our people are pretty proud of that,” he said.
Furthermore, Matthews said all the spending identified for projects next year will come from the town’s reserves.
“There’ll be no borrowing in 2018, unless something really goes haywire,” he said.