Town’s budget offers balanced approach

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

During last October’s municipal election campaign those seeking election to Amherst town council were bombarded with complaints about property taxes with the business community leading the charge.

Now that Amherst has responded by lowering both residential and commercial tax rates, both home and business owners should be prepared for what could happen next.

Amherst has managed to make numerous improvements to its infrastructure and downtown without having to borrow a lot of money. That’s a good thing. The projects were completed, partially as a reason of the town’s strong tax base and also because the town has been doing a good job putting money away for a rainy day.

Although not as ambitious as previous capital plans, the town still has a number of projects on its agenda, some of which are being put on hold or slowed down so it can offer tax relief.

Amherst did the right thing by lowering the tax rate, although many property owners will still find themselves paying the same or more for taxes because of rising assessments. But, lowering the residential rate by three cents and the commercial rate by 10 cents per $100 of assessment means the town is going to have about $300,000 less revenue as it moves forward with its capital projects and running the town.

It’s also important to note that your tax dollars go to providing the services that make Amherst an attractive place to live and do business. Maintaining parks, the stadium, streets, sidewalks and the water and sewer systems comes at a cost. We need to spend wisely to maintain those services while balancing the tax burden they represent.

Deputy Mayor George Baker said he supports the tax increase, but is fearful of the direction the town may be taking. He believes tax relief is a good thing for the community at this time, but he said he is also thinking of the future and wants to avoid a situation that plagues many municipal units that are forced to borrow large sums of money to pay for capital projects down the road.

The last thing this community needs is a huge debt load that will either have to be paid off through higher taxes or by passing the burden onto to our children and grandchildren.

This budget is something the town needs because it balances the concerns of taxpayers with maintaining services and moving forward with the town’s strategic priorities. It’s probably the best we could ask for.

 

Organizations: Amherst town council

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Look at you Town's budget
    May 07, 2013 - 04:37

    This article appears to have been written by the Town's PR team. This town should have no debt. Have you forgotten the quarter mullion over budget of an unnecessary town building. Look at the 1 million 20 thousand that is budgeted for community and economic development. How much of that is paid out in salaries, benefits and expenses and for what? Why do we need a community arts and culture director when we have debt? How may jobs has the economic director brought to the town? What about the 40-80% salary increases the mayor and counsel unanimous;y voted themselves last fall. The increase was not even budgeted. Amherst will only be able to properly support its business community when its own government has the people with the interest, passion and skills to run its own business effectively.

  • Elizabeth Smith
    May 05, 2013 - 07:47

    Amherst is moving in the right direction. The Town has strong leadership that has a good understanding that a strong business community is the foundation to to strong economy. The decision to lower tax rates along with the deed transfer tax needs to be applauded. Now the province needs to step up to the plate and rehaul the taxation system as a whole. The rising assessments need to be paused and the process examined and a plan made to create a fair and effective taxation system. Recently we have seen the Atlantic Canadian premiers working together on federal issues, this collaborative approach should also be used on topics such as creating a effective taxation system that would make the Maritime provinces a competitive and attractive place for more business investment in this global market. Thank you to our Amherst leadership for making this step in the right direction.