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Council Reduces 2013/14 Tax Rates
Berwick Town Council reduced the residential tax rate by 8.3 cents (or 5.2%) and commercial tax rates by 8.0 cents (or 2.1%) at their May 14, 2013 meeting. Although the rates were reduced, existing services are not affected and several new initiatives were introduced that will benefit the town now and stabilize the budget for many years to come.
The residential tax rate was reduced from 1.591 cents to 1.508 cents, and the commercial rate was reduced from 3.88 cents to 3.80 cents. This will result in Berwick having the 7th lowest residential rate and 8th lowest commercial rate of the towns in Nova Scotia. All rates are billed at $100 per assessed values.
Additionally, the deed transfer tax rate will be reduced from 1.5% of home sale value to 1.0%. This change will come into effect later this summer, once approved through changes to the Town’s existing by-law. Further changes to the deed transfer tax will be dealt with in future years budgets.
2013/14 Operating Budget
The budget sets forth a strategic resource allocation plan that is aligned with community goals, preferences and needs and acts as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide, and communication device for Council and residents.
Rate changes within the $4.07 million dollar operating budget means that the upcoming property tax bill for more than 76% of the properties in the town will be lower than last year. Also, Council was able to approve new positions and initiatives including:
• creation of a Director of Community Development position, responsible for recreation planning and economic development for the town
• annuals amounts for development including additional funds for benches, bike racks and curbing improvements
• further repairs to public areas of the Town Hall
• lighting improvements at town baseball fields
• additional funds for road maintenance and equipment
2013/14 Capital Budget
Council also approved the $479,500 capital budget, project highlights include:
• $25,500 to continue the town’s wifi initiative, to provide free wireless connectivity in the downtown core and common areas
• $240,000 for upgrades to the town’s wastewater system, including work at the treatment plant and replacements of sections of sewer lines
• $95,000 to replace and improve parking at the town hall
• $65,000 for sidewalk upgrades and road paving work
• $30,000 towards a plan and work for improved recreation facilities at Rainforth Park
Council approved a change to the methodology for collecting sewer rates: rather than using the existing sewer rate of 11.7 cents per $100 of assessed value, sewer charges will be based on property class and usage. Single family dwellings will be charged a flat rate of $99.66 per year, with different charges for other property classes.
A copy of the proposed budget can be downloaded here: Town of Berwick - Proposed 2013/14 Operating and Capital Budget (3.85 MB). The approved budget will be available shortly.
Questions or queries regarding the approved budget can be submitted to the Finance Department:
Greg Towne, Director of Finance - 538-4014
You can also contact any Councillor - click here for their contact information - or come into the Town Hall at 236 Commercial Street.