SPRINGHILL – Leaner than previous years, the Town of Springhill introduced a frugal budget for 2010-2011 last week, maintaining the residential tax rate at $2.25 per $100 of assessed property, while the commercial tax rate rose to $5.53.
The increase to commercial was in part with the provincial mandate to eliminate the business occupancy tax and offset into the commercial tax, but the town noted previous reductions did not always see the balance being forwarded appropriately.
“We’ve not always collected the full amount so this year we are closer to collecting those actual revenues,” Mayor Allen Dill said. “Both residential and commercial will stay the same as last year in most cases but assessments could change that.”
Springhill also increased its garbage collection rate and sewage rate during the special meeting. The annual garbage collection rate increased to $147 from $140, while sewage saw a significant increase, increasing $56 to $226 per unit.
“The annual garbage rate, again, this is one of the things citizens can control by separating compostable from residual waste,” Dill said.
With regards to the sewage rate, however, Dill explained that while Springhill has an up-to-date sewage system and water treatment facility, the necessary long-term maintenance of the sewage treatment plant has not always taken place. Increasing the rate, he said, will see more hands-on care of the sewage treatment plant to prolong the life and reduce major repairs.
“Springhill will not allow these two facilities to not be maintained,” Dill said.
It is the cost of maintaining infrastruction, Coun. Norman Rushton said.
“It hadn’t been done in previous years. We have a director that insists on the property being maintained and that’s what we should all insist. We should have been paying it a long time ago.”
Many of the town’s departments had their budgets cut for this fiscal year and the community is focusing on risk-management, making way for the town to be proactive to its issues instead of reactive, Dill said. As a consequence, Springhill officials predict the town will eliminate its deficit, which now sits at $170,000 – down from $267,000 – by the end of next year.