The Town of Conception Bay South’s 2019 municipal budget features no tax increases for residents or businesses in the community.
C.B.S. Deputy Mayor Richard Murphy presented the budget on Monday evening, which council members passed unanimously.
The town will spend $37.8 million in 2019, down $560,000 from the previous year. The residential mill rate will remain the same at 7.15, while the commercial mill rate will remain at 11.5.
While municipalities across the province — particularly the City of St. John’s — braced for an overall decrease in assessed home values, Mayor Terry French says C.B.S. was not affected like other parts of the province.
“There was a slight increase — not something we can jump up and down about, but it enabled us to not see a huge shortfall. Because of that, we’re able to reduce our spending,” said French.
“Our property values have held their own and I guess it’s because it’s a growth town. We’re proud of that.”
French says the directors of each department at the town hall were not given a specific cost-saving target to meet, but were asked to see what spending could be cut.
“We asked all directors to go back and look at their budgets,” said French.
“At our swimming pool, for example, we made some changes in scheduling. We saw savings of $180,000 there, while at the same time increasing our compliment of snowplow drivers. That’s about moving away from the non-core elements of operating the town to the core elements.”
The snowclearing changes will see two to three more snowplow operators working on the roads during each shift.
There are no plans for increases to municipal rates and fees as part of the budget.
The town will spend $1 million on street and sidewalk upgrades, with $6 million allotted for street paving in 2019.
An additional $90,000 will be spent on traffic-calming measures in the town, including speed bumps and increased signage.
The town says the rollout of automated garbage services will continue in 2019, with the full town to be covered by late 2019.
The community park in the Long Pond area will see a finalized concept plan, with the goal to finish Phase 1 of the project in 2019.