Council pitches tax increase and big capital budget

Council pitches tax increase and big capital budget

Residents have one month to submit input

Town council is proposing a two per cent tax increase in 2018, along with increases in water and sewer rates.

At the same time it’s planning for $3.9 million in capital projects over the next eleven months, compared to the 2017 budget of $690,000.

The municipality’s proposed budget and five-year financial plan, along with council’s priorities for the coming year, were released at Monday’s council meeting.

The suggested tax increase amounts to less than $25 for the average single family home and with utility hikes the impact per household is estimated at $32.

“The annual budget and the five-year financial plan are the most important but also the hardest decisions council has to make. There never seems to be enough money to fund all the projects that council wishes to undertake,” said interim CAO Bob Wilson in his report.

Council is seeking public input on the budget and five-year plan for the next month, and will receive submissions up until February 15th.

It is the first budget for Princeton prepared by interim director of finance Janice Aver.

“We are pleased with the work Janice has done,” said Wilson. “We are doing it much earlier and it’s a different format. It’s nice and clear, we think anyways, and we are certainly pleased by the way it has turned out.”

The bulk of the capital budget is for water and sewer upgrades, said Aver, with $2.6 million earmarked for those projects.

The revenue budget anticipates $2.5 million in federal and provincial grants and the balance of the spending will come from reserves.

Downtown beautification, health care, economic development and development of the proposed indoor pool plan round out the rest of capital spending.

Stated council objectives also include park improvements, researching funding opportunities for a housing study and continued lobbying towards acquiring a full time Conservation Services officer.

“For our municipality to make progress there has to be a clear set of goals and priorities,” said Mayor Frank Armitage. “For local governments, the agenda can change as quickly as issues come and go in the community.”