Town hall has big plans for Princeton in 2020, including $3.79 million in capital spending and creating an option to borrow funds for housing development.
The town is also proposing an overall 4.6 per cent tax increase, which for the average household will mean an increase of approximately $31, to $665 from $634.
A draft budget was introduced at last week’s council meeting.
According to director of finance James Graham the capital requisitions being proposed are led by a $1 million allocation to cover start up costs for the proposed $27 million indoor pool.
“We are counting on the [federal/provincial] grant coming in,” said Graham. The money in the 2020 budget is for design, and the five year plan predicts capital spending in 2021 and 2022 of $16 million and $17.4 million respectively, reflecting construction costs.
If the budget is approved $360,000 will be set aside for downtown beautification, which is in addition to the $318,000 allocated for that project in 2019.
That money will cover the costs of redesigning the Visitors Centre on Bridge Street, installing new sidewalks around that facility, and installation of the planned statue park, said Graham.
Approximately $825,000 is budgeted for sewer repairs and enhancements, and $300,000 is earmarked for development of town owned land which will later be offered for sale for residential housing.
“Princeton needs housing,” said Graham.
The budget also allows for the town to borrow up to $1.4 million to develop housing.
“The general plan would be for paving roads, curbs, and moving water and sewer into the neighborhoods.”
Graham stressed that any monies borrowed would be repaid as lots are subdivided and sold, and the move would also have to be approved by bylaw.
“Growth pays for growth,” he said. “If you take a look at one of the earmarks of most growing municipalities it’s that they have this kind of debt.”
He added it is an unusual direction for Princeton.
“It would be the first time [money was borrowed] probably in known memory.”
Smaller capital projects slated for 2020 include new snow equipment and trucks, and new roofs for the fire hall and the concession stand at Memorial Park.
While the majority of the funds included in the budget are expected to come from provincial and federal grants, approximately $860,000 would be drawn from reserves.
As of the end of 2018 the town had $5.9 million in reserves.
Residents will be invited to provide input on the proposed plans, and the final budget is scheduled to be approved on April 6.
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