The City of Charlottetown plans on spending more to fix all the roads that were ravaged by a brutal winter.
Council brought down its 2019-20 operational budget on Wednesday and the fiscal forecast calls for close to an additional $1 million to be spend paving and resurfacing.
The total budget for roads is just short of $3 million.
“There is always money in the budget for asphalt and paving and resurfacing,’’ said Coun. Terry Bernard, chairman of the finance committee. “This was a difficult winter on the roads and, again, when you have a season when you’ve had as many freeze-thaw cycles as we did you’re going to have a lot of repairs to do.’’
The city will follow its traditional formula of having staff go out and rate the streets, with the worst cases getting attention first.
Speaking of roads, the city has budgeted $4.4 million for snow removal.
The city corporation passed a balance budget of $57.14 million for the city corporation and $13.3 million for the Water and Sewer Utility.
There will be no tax increase for residential or commercial property owners although residents were hit with a 32-cent-a-day hike in their water and sewer bills.
Budget tax rates
- The municipal tax rate of 67 cents per $100 of assessment be levied against all non-commercial property
- The non-commercial component of property which is owned by a non-resident person or non-resident corporation is $1.33 per $100 of assessment
- The non-commercial component of hotels and motels rate shall be 91 cents per $100 of assessment where the owner is a resident person or a resident corporation or $1.57 per $100 of assessment where the owner is a non-resident or a non-resident corporation
- The non-commercial component of apartment buildings containing four or more units, the rate shall be 91 cents where owner is a resident or $1.57 where owner is a non-resident
- The non-commercial component of properties located in the Parkwood Estates and the Riverview Estates Mobile Home Parks, the rate shall be 42 cents where owner is a resident and $1.08 where owner is a non-resident
- Tax rate will be $2.36 per $100 of assessment against all commercial property
- The city will also collect an additional 18 cents per $100 of assessment on all commercial properties within the Business Improvement Area (BIA). Money shall be transferred to Downtown Charlottetown Inc. for the purpose of marketing and enhancing the downtown core
The city operated on a one-time 15-month budget from Jan. 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 as a result of last year’s requirements under the Municipal Government Act (MGA). The city anticipates having a surplus of about $1.8 million from that budget which will carry forward into the 2019-20 budget. The city has returned to a 12-month budget period with its new fiscal year matching that of the province from April 1 to March 31 annually.
The city will also be investing an additional $500,000 in capital investment in the regional T3 Transit system in an effort to increase its rolling stock. That could come in the form of new or refurbished buses. In addition, the city will provide an additional $125,000 to expand service hours and its service boundary.
“It’s one of those budgets where it feels good to be able to maintain the services (we have) and enhance the services and keep the tax rate stable,’’ Bernard said.
There was no mention in the budget in regards to the multi-use sports and entertainment complex. City officials know it’s going to cost in the area of $65 million to $85 million to build so the municipality remains in a state where it is searching for funding partners and funding models. Once it has all that information, the city says it will take it to a public meeting.
Bernard said the city is also paying close attention to its debt load, which stands at $99 million. The city plans to pay down $$$ of that amount this year.
“That’s something that finance is really interested in getting a hold of. It it’s not watched closely then taxes, at some point, are going to have to go up. The finance committee will be talking about that.’’
Bernard said his committee will come up with a policy in regards to borrowing, as in how much the city can borrow based on how much is paid back.
“The concern you have with some of these (federal) programs that become available like Invest in Canada (which is) partner funding, you want to take advantage of it but you also want to be careful about how much debt you are carrying. That’s the fine line that we have to follow here, stay within our means and continue to grow.’’
That policy should come out within the next three to six months.