Summerside budget includes council raises, long-term debt reduction

Nancy
Nancy MacPhee
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Finance Chairman Frank Costa delivering the 2016 budget address for the City of Summerside earlier Monday, Feb. 8.

City will also increase community grant allowance, increase water and sewer rate

Summerside's mayor and council will see an increase in their pay cheques.

A 22 per cent increase in honorariums for the city's legislators was one of the items announced in the 2016 budget released earlier today at city hall.

That increase brings the mayor's annual salary to $50,000, up from $43,000 in 2015. The deputy mayor will see a $5,000 pay increase, going from $22,000 to $27,000, while individual councillors will be paid $25,000 a year, up from $20,000 in 2015.

While the mayor and council will be taking home more money in 2016, residents will be digging a little deeper with a five per cent increase in their water and sewer rates, equating to an extra $2.80 total on their water and sewer bills. 

There will be no increase in property tax rates in the city's $49 million budget. Of that amount, $22 million is being spent on general government expenses and $27 million on city utilities. 

Electricity rates were recently adjusted by 2.3 per cent, effective March 1, to stay in line with Maritime Electric's rates.

While the city expects to reduce its long-term debt by $2.2 million, it plans to borrow $8 million to offset capital improvements, as well as the purchase of two new fire trucks and storm sewer work. 

A total of $11.4 million is being spent on capital improvements, with the remaining $3.7 million coming from the city's general revenues. 

In the budget, delivered by finance committee chairman Coun. Frank Costa, community grant spending is set to increase from $380,000 to $400,000 in 2016.

Support for Downtown Summereside is set at $73,000, the same as in 2015, to supplement that organization's Business Improvement Levy.

The city will spend $3.5 million for street and storm sewer upgrades, while more than $330,000 will be spent on new sidewalks and sidewalk reconstruction, down from $600,000 in 2015.

A total of $1 million is being set aside for improvements to the sewer utility while $1.2 million will be spent on upgrades to the city's water utility. 

The city is devoting almost $2.8 million to the electric utility for capita improvements. 

Things that will remain unchanged include rates for recreation, arts and culture programs and, again in 2016, user fees and lighting charges at all City of Summerside outdoor recreation facilities will be eliminated.

Pre-school skates at Credit Union Place will again be free.

Finance director Rob Philpott called the fiscal plan for 2016 a "prudent budget," one, he said, helps the city in "planning for the future."

"Overall, residents will be pleased," said Philpott.

The budget is the 21st consecutive balanced budget for the city. By law, the city must balance its budget.

Organizations: Maritime Electric, Credit Union Place

Geographic location: Summerside

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Recent comments

  • History
    February 09, 2016 - 09:42

    Summerside has had a bad record for managing taxpayayers dollars. The past Mayor Basil Stewart and CAO Terry Murphy were untouched in the way they preformed their duties. Bad decisions were mind you ,but not alone ,as there was always a lawyer giving advice. The Griffin incident which was total farse from the get go. This malicious percecuation of an innocent man costs the taxpayers 3 million dollars. They would not admit fault and drug this man through five courts for thirteen years,all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. They could not go any further, but still have not offered him an apology. Why? This was the first successful case in Canada involving a Police Officer.In their minds they did nothing wrong. Chief Poirier was sergeant at the time ,filed bogus false charges against Griffin and yes he is still the Chief. Of Police today. Why?This type of leadership mentality only creates further bad decisions. We have seen that to with the Concert Fiasco that cost the taxpayer $2 milliion and thousands more in lawyer fees. In both these cases lawyers excaped and investigation or dicipline for their actions. This new Council promised change as a rsult of all of this mismanagement and boy did Summerside get change. Eight more million borrowed, electric, water.sewer increased and a 22% raise for the Mayor and Council. This is clear evidence nothing has changed in Summerside, the mind set is still stuck on how great thou are and how greedy they can be in their own interest. When all said and done there is a saying" What goes around comes around" If there is such a thing as Justice someday we just might see some. This latest decision by Council really spells incompenent elected officials making decisions for their own gain. People should stage a protest and demand resignations. This is shameful leadership. Mayor MArtin trumps around stating he is only here for one term. He should run again just to see how popular he thinks he is. He would be beat by over 90% of voters after this comedy.

  • Shameful
    February 09, 2016 - 08:56

    Seems strange how, despite huge debt and higher taxes, council can grease their own palms with a pay increase. They should go and bag their heads.

  • Forensic Audit
    February 08, 2016 - 20:00

    When our last Mayor was in office he and Council had our debt at 100 million. Now this MAyor and Council borrow another 8 million to bring our debt to 68.9 million. If we have a cap of 81 million what justified our City going over that to almost 100. This makes no sense to borrow millions and than get two eaises in less that two years for Mayor and Council, recently 22%. The talk of a Forensic Audit died in the early stages and now we know why. Something really wrong with how this City manages its tax dollars. A full outside Forensic Audit should be in order

  • taxpayer
    February 08, 2016 - 19:55

    I wonder how any council could justify a 22% increase in there honorarium and then increase the water and sewar rates along with the 2.3% increase in electrical rates as well. I wonder who might remember the last increase the city council gave themselves but it always seems to happen in the early part of their respective terms and never at Election time . If memory serves me correctly I think they gave themselves about 6000 a year raise when Tina was first elected and they couldn't change it (although they have the power to enact law within the city I thought ?) because it was a so called independent commission who mandated the increase....It will be interesting to see how these increases will affect the vote come election time in about 3 years time .... I hope the average citizen has a better memory next time around .....

  • James
    February 08, 2016 - 19:51

    All you new Councillors and the Mayor should do some real soul searching. During the election campaign we were all told of the mismanagement of money, frivulous spending and you were going to change all of this. We know now after this borrowing eight millionsand a 22% raise, plus increases in electricity and water.sewer, you have prover to all of us that Politicians are all the same breed. You are all fuelled by greed and looking after ones self. You can now do the honourable thing and approve unions raises of 22%. Fair is fair. I for one really believed we had a group of Councillors with some amount of brain power. Now, I have my answer.

  • Summerside Resident
    February 08, 2016 - 19:11

    This new Mayor and Council should hide their faces in shame. Two raises in less than a year, the most recent one 22%. Than have the gaul to blame it on some system in place that they were unaware of. All of this is mistruths and lies to the electorate. Mr Philpott should come down out of the clouds and go back to NS. Raising electrical rates and water and sewer is the complete opposite to what these councillors told us at the door during election. All we heard was change and people were mislead and we sure got change. This new Mayor had better keep to the bakery business as he has no clue about running a City. I sure hope his staff gets a 22% raise. I sure hope the Unions all stick togeather for a 22% raise, than watch the poor crying start. O no, we can't afford that. My advise to every union is to hold out for arbitration and use this very argument to make this Mayor and Councillors embarrassed for the gaul of their actions. People in this community are barely making ends meet with two or three kids and to read this is nothing less than sickening. People have lost all respect for Politicians and this example is one more reason why. We live in a small City, some say its a Town. I would suggest you can that Logo "Small City Big Opportunities because your greed has breeded false hopes for us all. To take $15000 from the Boys and Girls Club budget allottment is down right dirt. This is simply jealousy of how good this organization has done without the City. Than, to borrow another 11 million and call it fiscial management is a farse. I hope every citizens either calls each of you or better faces you and tells you just what you are, a bunch of phonies, along for the ride. Instead of all this wasteful energy you had better do something with the downtown. St John , NB,just reversed some budget items due to commuity pressure and this is exactly what should occurr here. I hope people seriously consider moving out of the City or at best not move in. This elected gang are suppose to manage our money in a prudent way, with honesty, Intigrity and accountability. We were lead to believe in change and all of thee above. Boy we should got a mislead. Mr Martin should be a real man and resign immediately, he will have us in quite the mess when he walks away. To publicly say " he did know what a honorarium was is shocking