Extra funds for civic centre puts town near end of its credit limit

Jason Malloy
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TRURO - The Town of Truro has agreed to nearly double its financial commitment for a new civic centre, but it may limit the town's borrowing for the foreseeable future.
Director of finance Robert Putnam explained the implications of increasing
the town's contribution from $4.4 million to $9.6 million. It raises the town's debt-service ratio to 16.5 per cent while Service Nova Scotia's calculation is just under 15 per cent because it excludes a couple of projects from its calculation.
"Service Nova Scotia advises that a debt-service ratio greater than 15 per cent will require discussion between Service Nova Scotia and Town of Truro representatives before any new debt is incurred," Putnam told council Monday. "We will be right at the limit."
He said the increase would result in a $130 a year extra in taxes for an average $100,000 property.
Council did approve the expenditure, but it was not unanimous.
Ward 3 Coun. Sharron Byers said it was a "fabulous" project that will be great for the town before voting against the increased expenditure.
"My great concern is how are we going to pay for it and still move the town forward?" she asked. "I have extreme concerns."
Mayor Bill Mills said the town would need to have "very sharp pencils" heading forward.
"I know it's going to be tough," he said, "but certainly we are not entering this blindly."
Mills said the committee would have to explore options to keep the price down, such as alternative fuel sources and a corporate sponsor.
He said there are many businesses that have come to town during the past year, apartment buildings being planned and other future developments that bring increased tax revenue to the town.
Ward 2 Coun. Brian Kinsman said the town is getting a $50-million facility for $10 million. "It will be a challenge, but we want to move forward, we have to spend some money," he said.
Coun. Greg MacArthur, who is co-chairman of the civic centre committee, is "gung-ho" for the project.
"It is a project that is going to make a difference for the next 50 years," he said. "In the long run we will gain so much."
It is expected the money will have to be paid back during a 20-year borrowing period.
The Municipality of Colchester County last month voted to increase its cost from $6.6 million to $14.4 million.

jmalloy@trurodaily.com

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Colchester County

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Recent comments

  • dave
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    This is getting crazy. Why not go to plan B. If we soe desperately need these facilities, why not add a second ice surface to the Stadium. (Which was the #1 suggestion of the $60,000 study we paid for a few years ago) Provide some funding to th two pools that already loose money each year. Let Nubodys, the NSAC and the SAport and wellness centre provide fitness classes and strength training and private business provide a climbing centre if needed. There is no need for the type of facility they are aiming for. Community space is availible in abundance. The only thing that the area really needs is another Ice Surface 8months of the year. My taxes went up last year enough already, lets try and start to do things a little smarter. This is just getting crazy.

  • dave
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    and how much to operate and maintain??

  • Jason
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Great, thanks you very much council! $130 more added to my tax bill. Why not stop wasting money on $100,000 reports for every situation that pops up in town and use that money for infrastructure projects.

  • flogger
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    This is insanity. Plain and simple.

  • Rea Peat
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    WHITE ELEPHANT! WHITE ELEPHANT! WHITE ELEPHANT! WHITE ELEPHANT!

    Extra $130 on top of the already $130 plus maintenance costs that have never been disclosed......looks like a tax increase of $400-500 per $100,000 of your property assesment value. Pretty stiff.......