SHERBROOKE – The Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s has been trying to get to a balanced budget without dipping into its operations surplus for the past few years. With its 2019-2020 budget, adopted at a council meeting last Wednesday, March 27, that goal was realized.
“It’s the first time in over a decade we’ve been able to do this, to achieve a balanced budget without going into the surplus, so we’re really pleased about that,” Warden Michael Mosher told The Journal.
The residential and commercial tax rates are each going up by one cent this year, bringing the new rates to 95 cents per $100 of assessment in residential and $2.26 for commercial. The overall budget for the municipality is up four per cent from last year. The extra costs are being addressed through these slight tax increases, along with an overall increase in assessments.
Despite working hard to balance the budget, Marion Fraser, director of finance, told The Journal there are still many capital project being undertaken this year, with funds coming from the capital reserve fund and, in some cases, efforts being made to secure provincial funding as well. Capital projects include installing additional dry hydrants for local fire departments, sewer plant upgrades, road upgrades and some RecPlex upgrades.
“We have a really good focus on planning and economic development,” she said.
District grants remain in the budget, at the same levels as last year. The new budget documents are available on the municipal website.
The municipality is planning an open house for April 15 so residents can come by to get more information about the budget and ask any questions they may have, with staff and council on hand.
“We’ve done this the last few years and we find it’s a great opportunity for people to get answers to their questions,” said Mosher.