GUYSBOROUGH - No hike in tax rates and an increase in the income eligibility for the low income tax exemption is good news for the citizens of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough. At a special council meeting on Wednesday, March 23 council passed the budget for the 2016 - 2017 fiscal year with near unanimous support. Councillor Fin Armsworthy, District 8, voted against the budget stating that he wasn't voting against what was in the budget but against what wasn't in the budget.
Residential and commercial tax rates will remain at $0.61 per $100 of assessment and $2.58 per $100 of assessment respectively.The former Town of Canso will continue to pay an additional rate for local services; $1.51 for residential customers and $1.34 for commercial properties. The low income tax exemption cut off has increased from $20,000 to $25,000. The seasonal business tax rate has been set at $1.935 per $100 of assessment. Sewer rates are as follows: Little Dover, $200.63; Hazel Hill, $213.00; and Guysborough, $210.00.
Council approved $25,000 in grants and bursaries. These monies have been awarded to local schools, the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Guysborough Options for Adaptive Living Society and other as of yet unspecified projects and groups.
Full and partial tax exemptions were granted to organizations and groups across the municipality. A full list of those receiving exemptions is available at the end of this article.
MODG Warden Vernon Pitts said, after council adjourned, that he was very optimistic about the future of the MODG. "We have a couple of major projects that are so close to taking off, it's unbelievable. If any of these projects takes off it is certainly going to change things in the municipality. I am optimistic. We have a balanced budget. We're not looking for any major expenditures that are going to go outside that scope."
The total projected revenues and expenditures for the fiscal year amounts to $18,331,649.
The municipal budget follows close on the heels of the federal budget and Pitts is looking forward to the roll out of federal projects. "I was glad to hear of infrastructure funding from the Feds in their budget yesterday. My understanding of that is that our Lifestyle Complex is now eligible for funding, which will make it a much lighter lift for the municipality. And rest assured we will be approaching them for funding.
"I saw an increase in small craft harbours funding which is great. Our wharves, some of them are depleted and some are closed to traffic...I heard last week that New Harbour would be closed to heavy traffic...And Larry's River is looking for upgrades."
In other news, the municipality is tentatively negotiating with Nova Scotia Power for the sale of the Canso Electric Light Utility. Pitts said, "We've had an appraisal done...Any revenue generated from that sale remains for the sole purpose of the residents of Canso."
Partial tax exemptions:
Canso Curling Club $1,254.89
Chedabucto Curling Club $1,932.57
Country Harbour Gun Club $2,517.66
Eddy Point Marine Park $650.10
Guysborough Fish & Game $1,180.03
Laurel Rebekah Lodge $118.20
Lincolnville Community Association $1,489.32
Lions Club of Canso $2,582.76
Little Dover Development Association $1,780.88
Masonic Hall Lodge # 96 $2,616.16
Shamrock Club $1,293.19
St. Agnes Parish Hall $2,785.58
St. Joseph's Mission $1,560.24
St. Joseph's Parish Hall $1,875.44
St. Patrick's Hall $2,444.77
St. Peter's Parish Hall $1,847.86
Sunnyville Community Association $1,020.46
Full tax exemptions:
Bayview District Medical Centre $4,360.20
Boylston Community Association $2,061.42
Canso Day Care $2,324.78
Chedabucto Bay Folk Society $9,114.57
Goldboro / Isaac's Harbour Community Development Association $4,917.48
Guysborough Waterfront Development Society $2,739.96
Keepers of the Beacon $926.22
Mulgrave Road Theatre $1,251.30
Whitehaven Community Development $3,614.58