During the regular session of Municipal Council on May 19th, the 2015-16 operating budget was approved. Council voted to keep the residential tax rate at $0.98 cents/$100 assessment and the commercial rate at $1.80/$100 assessment; including a $0.02 decrease to the Bridgetown’s former tax rate and a $0.12 reduction to commercial tax.
Last year, Bridgetown’s combined residential tax rate was $2.13 and the combined commercial tax rate was $3.93 per one hundred dollars of assessed property value. The 2015-16 budget has reduced the combined residential tax rate to $2.11 (a reduction of $0.02) and a combined reduced commercial tax rate of $3.81 (a reduction of $0.12) per one dollars of assessed property value.
”The community of Bridgetown will see positive outcomes in this year’s tax treatment,” said Warden Reg Ritchie. “These outcomes were impacted by both efficiencies in municipal restructuring and provincial support provided in the dissolution ‘Letter of Intent’.”
According to CAO John Ferguson, the community of Bridgetown will see significant new contributions in its local infrastructure. In addition, and for the first time in several years, the sewer reserves will be transferred to a capital sewer reserve for future infrastructure improvements. The amount contributed to capital sewer reserve is equivalent to approximately $0.20 on the Bridgetown tax treatment. This investment will help with the existing infrastructure deficit. Further the Community of Bridgetown received a new fire truck on March 31, 2015, that had been needed for several years. The value of the fire truck is equivalent to approximately $0.08 on the Bridgetown tax treatment.
Warden Ritchie noted, “These are strategic investments to ensure Bridgetown citizens receive stable service level standards. We (Council) were able to ensure the service level standard achievements for the Community of Bridgetown described above occurred while still providing a reduction to their former tax rate. A large thank you goes out to our staff for their dedication in making this feasible. All of this was done amidst the Dissolution of Bridgetown, resulting in the re-structuring of staff in both the County and Bridgetown.”
“Approving the annual budget is one of the most important and challenging responsibilities we must face each year as councillors. A goal we strive to achieve is maintaining the tax rate while not jeopardizing the services offered to our residents. This was particularly challenging this year with the transition of Bridgetown, but I am very pleased that after much discussion and deliberation, despite various budgetary pressures, Municipal Council has achieved this goal.”
Maintaining the County tax rate and reducing Bridgetown’s former tax rate was able to occur despite additional funding pressures to increase education by $243, 310 and policing by $189,091 (with the addition of a new officer).
The approved 2015-16 budget will be available to view in its entirety at AnnapolisCounty.ca.