UPPER NAPPAN – Cumberland municipal council passed their 2012-13 budget during Wednesday’s meeting of county council.
Deputy warden Gerald Read made a motion during the meeting, saying, “I move that the residential tax rate of $1.04 per $100 of assessment, and the commercial tax rate of $2.63 per $100 of assessment be approved for 2012-13.”
The motion was approved unanimously.
“We kept the tax rates, both residential and commercial, the same (as last year),” said Cumberland County warden Keith Hunter after the budget was released.
The total budget for 2012-13 is $16,355,659.
“We’re up $534,000 over last year, which is a 3.4 per cent increase overall (over last year),” said Andrew MacDonald, Cumberland County director of finance.
The County was able to maintain a balanced budget while increasing spending by $534,157 because of the increase in property assessment values.
The province raised property assessment values in January, and every $100 increase in property values gives the county another $1.04 or $2.63 in taxes, depending on the type of property.
“We didn’t raise the (tax) rate but people will be paying 3.9 per cent more on their tax bills because of the increased assessment,” said Hunter. “3.9 per cent is what the cap rate is now.”
The county also has a surplus being carried over from the 2011-12-budget year.
“We’re expecting to have a surplus from this past March of $500,000, so we’re bringing that forward into revenue too,” said MacDonald. “With the increase in assessment and the transfer of that surplus, that helped offset any increases in the rates.”
Sewer rates have also increased $5 throughout the county from $355 to $360 per unit, except on Athol Road and the Joggins Extension.
Athol Road sees a sewer rate increase of $15, from $209 to $224, while the Joggins Extension rate changes from $475 to $480.
During the meeting Reid made a motion, saying, “I move that council approve the following 2012-2013 capital budget totaling $6,682,507.”
The motion was passed unanimously.
“A big chunk of the capital budget is for the Pugwash Master Plan,” said Hunter.
“We’re in the study mode now doing the studies for the library/Community Hall for Pugwash, fuel services for the Pugwash Harbour, and water services to Pugwash,” he added. “They’ve done the initial study and now they’re going on to the second phase.”
Other major expenditures in the Capital Budget include fire apparatus capital expenditures of $2,060,000, Maccan Sewage Treatment Plant expenditures of $1,950,288, and a geothermal study expenditure of $1,299,155.
“Another thing we have is the more than $700,000 we spent on green carts,” said Hunter.
The green compost bins were issued to county residents over the last few weeks.
“We will be composting everything in the county. That should help our (waste) diversion rates,” added Hunter.