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Wabush meets deadline to approve $16 million 2020 budget

Some residents are not happy the town isn't holding a plebiscite on amalgamating with Labrador City and are organizing a petition.
Mayor Ron Barron says the town is in good financial shape and, when compared to other communities in the province, can be proud of its position.- File photo

Financial blueprint contains a few changes in taxes and fees

WABUSH, N.L. —

For Wabush Mayor Ron Barron and his council, delivering a budget on time has been difficult the past few years.

Last year, the council had to request an extension to get its budget ready.

The reason was the ongoing cost of recreation, which Wabush council said it couldn't afford.

There were appeals to stakeholders.

Eventually, there was assistance and the budget was passed.

A three-year agreement with the Town of Labrador City, IOC and Tacora is now in place.

Even though the largest expenditure for the town remains recreation at more than $1.4 million, the cost is borne by the three stakeholders and the town now contributes what it considers its fair share, says the mayor.

In terms of the town's revenue more than $10 million comes from government grants.

Barron says a $6 million expenditure is related to the sewer treatment plant, for which government funding has been allocated. The cost represents a multi-year project and is funded by many levels of government.

Town revenue from taxes is about $4.4 million and will be achieved with a few changes in taxes and fees. Businesses operating in residential areas will see their taxes jump from $300 to $500 dollars a year. Commercial water and sewer rates will see a base rate of $300 and a mill rate of 1 per cent, based on assessed value. The minimum rate will stay at $750.

Because the town is spending less money on recreation services, it can proceed with other much-needed projects.

There was work on the Jean Lake walking trail last summer and he says that will continue in 2020 with a focus on the western side of the lake.

As well, he says there are plans to add lighting in the ball field and to improve fencing. New fencing was installed last summer at the playground.

In other spending, the town will buy a fire equipment van, a dump truck to help with snow removal and sand spreading, and a snowblower attachment.

Barron says now that stakeholders have come on board with recreation cost-sharing, the town has money to spend on projects like a retaining wall on Snow street, and to continue other projects put on hold.

He adds the town has also applied for $4.5 million to complete road work.

Barron says the town is in good financial shape and, when compared to other communities in the province, can be proud of its position.

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