Property tax rates unchanged, city debt reduced, water and sewer rates rise in Summerside 2014 budget.

Mike Carson
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SUMMERSIDE - City residents will see property tax rates remain unchanged and will be paying more for water and sewer services in 2014.

Councillors Tina Mundy and Peter Holman listen as Deputy Mayor Bruce MacDougall delivers his 2014 municipal budget address. The budget holds the line on property taxes, predicts reductions in the city’s long-term debt and accumulated deficit Water and sewer rates will rise

Deputy Mayor Bruce MacDougall, chairman of the city’s finance committee, delivered the 2014 budget Monday at the city’s annual general meeting.

Two important aspects of the document were the projections of reducing the municipal long-term debt to about $65 million, down $1.2 million from a year ago, and a drop in the accumulated deficit to $262,000.

The city will be involved in several capital improvement projects totalling more than $12 million, the largest of which is $4.4 million for street and storm sewer upgrades.

MacDougall said the main focus of this expenditure will be a ditch infilling program.

He said the entire situation will be reviewed and a plan set out that will let homeowners know when their ditches will be infilled and the storm sewers installed. He said it will be a long-term project.

“Council has to look at a lot of these projects and to ignore them is the wrong thing to do,” MacDougall said. “We came together as a council and said even if we have to go out and borrow more money this year it’s something that has to be done. If we allow these things to wait until you can afford them, they’re never going to be done.

The deputy mayor was satisfied with the numbers.

“I think it’s a fair budget,” MacDougall said. “We took a lot of things under consideration as we did in other years, but we just had a little different look at it this year. We tried to put the money where we’re going to get the best benefit from it. We need to see if we can leverage more money through infrastructure programs. We need to see if we can stretch those dollars as far as we can.”

Two areas of the budget that will see increases are the monthly rates paid for water and sewer services in the city, but MacDougall said these hikes are justified.

“Our water rates have to go up, but that’s something that has to happen. We have to have dependable water and sewer systems,” he said. “The deficit has been growing on those and to ignore it is the wrong thing.”

Debt reduction has been a priority for council for several years and inroads are being made, the deputy mayor said.

“Lowering the deficit and the debt, it’s where we need to go,” he said. “We’ve been tackling that for the last number of years, We have a new CAO this year and a new director of finance, but even under (former finance director) Malcolm Millar, it was a priority to reduce our debt. We’ve stayed on track and it’s coming along very good right now.”

mcarson@journalpioneer.com

 

 

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  • Ed
    March 26, 2014 - 12:46

    The city needs to cut staff. Eight councilors is too many for a small city with a shrinking population of 15,000. Too many cops with the very latest patrol cars with nothing to do but hand out chincy traffic tickets. Try getting robbed and see what they can do. Too many administrators and managers driving around in fancy.city owned vehicles. And finally too many public works employees who think the world owes them a job, patching/ruining streets or watering flowers.

  • billy
    March 25, 2014 - 18:15

    So only paying off less than 2% of the debt(1.8% to be exact) is NOT fiscal policy plus how do you quantify what the monies (half a million.......omg) go towards in regards to "economic development .............the fab five should have shown some fortitude and resigned as throwing money into fibre op to the tune of 3.2 million is no different than the concert fiasco.Just keeps Route 2 employed.....Thank god they are gone in less than 8 months...

  • Billy
    March 25, 2014 - 09:08

    At this rate it will take 65 years, at least to get the debt down. Sell off some wind turbines and ditches were fine the way they are for years . Why now do they have to be filled in. How about cutting out some travel and those free meals, contributing to political parties and other parties. I could go on. Water and sewer is a gimme every year for collecting extra money. Grat budget eh.

    • oh great Billy is back
      March 25, 2014 - 13:39

      Can't wait to vote against Billy the complainer. Is "Mack'in mistakes" ever going to run for office?Nothing ever pleases him.

  • Rob
    March 25, 2014 - 08:47

    By increasing water and sewer rates, and continuing to increase electric rates and not lowering property rates, you are making people leave Summerside. At least you can do that right. Take a look around the city and see all the houses up for sale, that is people leaving. Keep raising those service fees, and give tax payers money away , that is about all you can do.

  • don
    March 25, 2014 - 07:50

    up the tax's so they can pay for more trips and bigger meals on the tax payers. again the tax payers are getting screwed by the mayor and his right hand boy. by the way whats the word on the money the tax payers were to get back from the greatest concert basil was ever going to have? i see that has been put in the garbage can