The Town of Pasadena had a few things going against it as it worked to balance its 2019 budget.
Rising waste management costs, lower property assessments, and an increase in loans, consulting fees and legal fees were the big expenses.
“When we just did our expenses and just paying the bills, we had a shortfall of almost $400,000 which we had to find in our budget,” said Mayor Gary Bishop.
With property taxes being the town’s major source of revenue and a projected loss of between $65,000 and $75,000, the town raised its mill rate by 0.5 mills, to 6.5 mills.
That increase was announced in the town’s 2019 budget brought down Monday.
Bishop said the increase in the mill rate is the first one for the town in 12 years.
The town also brought in a $175 waste management fee for residents.
Bishop said the cost of waste management has jumped 300 per cent over the last two years. It’s gone from $57 per tonne to $164, and that equates to an increase of about $125,000 a year.
The town’s total waste management cost is about $200,000 a year.
The town also had to budget $45,000 for consulting fees as it tackles an issue with high THM levels in its water supply. Bishop said the preliminary cost to fix the problem is between $1.5 million and $2 million, so the town had to build about another $85,000 in the budget to allow for payments on a loan to cover the necessary work.
“While we don’t know what it is, we do know it’s coming,” he said.
Bishop said the council felt it would to be best to deal with the issue all at once.
“Nobody likes to increase taxes and you certainly don’t want to do it two years in a row.”
On the expenditure side Pasadena will pay three per cent more for staff wages, honorariums for the fire department and council remuneration.
The town is also looking at some higher-than-usual legal fees in 2019 as it goes through litigation over Pasadena Place in relation to deficiencies in the building when the town took it over.
That will cost the town between $60,000 and $80,000.
The town has made expenditures in the last four years to address its aging infrastructure, including moving lift stations to above ground, with improved electrical and technology.
It has also made improvements to its streets and water system.
“You have to keep upgrading your infrastructure because it will get to a point if you don’t where you’re going to have a massive problem down the road,” said Bishop.
- Three per cent salary increase for all staff
- Pasadena has a non-unionized workforce and therefore salary increases are set within budget policy and not through collective agreements
- Total salaries for 2019 will be $1,158,657.64 — up $33,747 from 2018
- Remuneration for council members will increase by three per cent in 2019
- Councillors will be impacted by federal regulations that remove tax-free status on one-third of their remuneration and will result in a net reduction of about eight per cent in remuneration, said the town
- The 2019 vs 2018 impact for council remuneration is an increase of $2,110.29 or an average of $301.47 per member
- Current remuneration rates
- Mayor — $11,594.86
- Deputy mayor — $10,543.41
- Councillor — $9,563.89
- Firefighter honorariums for 2018 totaled $48,147
- For 2019 that total will rise to $52,504, an increase of $4,357
- This increase accounts for a three per cent increase and additional allocation for two more members (33 in 2019 vs 31 in 2018)
- Honorarium amounts for 2019:
- Fire chief — $2,676
- Assistant chief — $2,186
- Captain (3) — $1,936
- Lieutenant (2) — $1,688
- Training officer — $1,688
- Firefighters (25) — $1,456
- Executive positions (6) — $60