The Town of Grenfell has tabled a balanced budget.
Council’s top priority this year is the resurfacing and paving of municipal roads, with the proposed budget reflecting a 352 per cent funding increase for street maintenance.
While the Town has budgeted $220,000 for asphalt/surfacing, Mayor Marc Saleski said the town will likely spend $400,000 on road repairs with additional funding coming from last year’s $ 181, 555 budget surplus.
“We got the new water system, the rink is all fixed up, fundraising is ongoing for the pool- hopefully that can be done next year- what else is there? The roads are crap,” said Saleski. “We need to get some work done on our streets.”
In addition to the asphalt and surfacing, the Town will spend a proposed $1,000 on gravel/sand (a 308 per cent increase from last year) and $5,000 on sidewalk maintenance.
The Town also recently purchased a new pay loader (approximately $50,000) which was budgeted for 2011.
The General Municipal Levy will decrease by 1.92 per cent from $681, 470.24 in 2011 to a proposed $668,370 in 2012. The base tax will remain unchanged at $700 ($225 for land and $475 for improvements); although the Mill rate will drop one per cent from 14.5 per cent to 13.5 per cent in efforts to offset new waste collection fees.
Waste collection fees are budgeted to increase 44.16 per cent from the actual cost of $62,432.29 in 2011 to a proposed $90,000 in 2012.
Waste collection fees ($27/quarterly) will be added to residential water bills.
Saleski explained even with previous garbage tag revenue, residential garbage has always been in-part subsidized by taxpayer dollars while businesses have had to pay the total cost of their own waste collection. Immersing the new fees in the taxes was not an option as the business and residential Mill rate is par.
“So to make it fair… we are making people pay for their garbage and to offset that we dropped the Mill. So house taxes will go down a little but you’ll be paying for your garbage.”
The budget details total expenditures for 2011 tallied $1, 245,797.68; proposed expenditures for 2012 total $1,405,100, for a 12.79 per cent increase.
Mayor Saleski said the increase was justified with inflation rates and on par with population growth and town priorities.
“Everything that we need to do for this year looks like it’s going to be handled,” he said.
Into the future, Grenfell town council may create a separate fund for budget surpluses so remaining money can be earmarked and used for the initial intended purpose and to serve as a cushion for municipal projects and priorities.
“Let’s say you budget (a project) and never end up doing that project, well where does that money go? Well here, that money sits in an unofficial reserve and kind of just accumulates. We’re looking at the balance of our working capital and we do have quite a bit there, so going forward…we may physically take that (money) and put it in a reserve account and earmark so it’s not spent somewhere else.”