On Tuesday, June 1, 2021, Municipal Council approved its approximate $16,239,000 2021/22 Municipal Operating Budget and $3,371,000 Capital Budget.
Municipal Council unanimously approved the budget with no increases to the residential tax rate or sewer rates. The commercial tax rate decreased from $1.46 per $100 of assessment to $1.44 per $100 of assessment. Warden Owen McCarron stated “The Municipality continues to be a strong financial steward, demonstrated by our ability to invest in municipal operations and infrastructure, pay down debt, and maintain one of the most competitive tax rates in the province, both residential and commercial.”
Some of the major expenses included in this year’s budget include mandatory contributions to education which accounts for 23.6% of the budget and protective services which accounts for 22% of the budget. Like all municipalities, Antigonish County is aware of the potential challenges associated with COVID-19 and has adjusted its financial forecast accordingly. Steps have been taken to invest in the community and not pass shortfalls on to rate-payers.
Highlights of the budget include:
- The residential rate will remain at $0.88 per $100 of assessment. This is among the lowest rates in Nova Scotia and the twelfth consecutive year that it has not increased.
- The commercial rate decreased to $1.44 per $100 of assessment. The Municipality remains the lowest commercial tax jurisdiction in the Province of Nova Scotia.
- Residential municipal sewer rates will remain at $316.29/unit.
- Interest rate is 6% per annum.
Key Initiatives include:
- Low Income Property Tax Exemption has been maintained so that households earning less than $30,000 can receive up to $200 toward their property taxes.
- $480,400 in grants to support local community groups and projects.
- Replacement of a waterline along Old South River Road and South River Road from the Town boundary to the intersection of Williams Point Road. This project will address ongoing challenges with one of the oldest and most problematic waterlines in the Municipality.
- Repaving Appleseed Drive and Townsend Street, which is one of the most travelled municipal roads leading to and from the Antigonish Education Centre and Saint Andrews Junior School.
- Upgrades to the Antigonish County Courthouse on Main Street.
- Infrastructure to improve the Equipment Loan Program
- Accessibility upgrades to municipal facilities.
- Investments in Active Transportation infrastructure near Mount Cameron and Bethany.
- A 72kW, 290 Panel ground-mounted Solar PV System at the Municipal Office, which is nearing completion.
Tax-bills will be in the mail this week and are due on June 30, 2021.