Kentville Town Council concluded budget talks for the 2016 / 17 fiscal year by approving both Operating and Capital Budgets at the May 30th Town Council Meeting.
Council and staff were faced with challenges such as increased cost for education, external agency agreement increases and general increased costs for operations. Despite the challenges they were able to approve an Operating Budget which preserves the current service levels and includes some additions. Most notably the additions include support for the Northeast Kings Educational Centre disabled bus purchase, support for the 2016 Canadian Masters Curling Challenge, increased recreation programming and the addition of $50,000 to support the new Business Facade Improvement Program.
Other notable service improvements include the continuation of the snow clearing support provided to the business community on sidewalks and the concentrated usage of police resources to deal with bylaw related issues surrounding the downtown core. “These items were included in this year’s operating budget and are in direct response to the wishes and comments we received from the business community” noted CAO Mark Phillips.
The total residential rate at $1.49 and 2/5 cents per $100 (including area rates and economic development levy) will not change from last year and the total commercial rate at $3.53 and 2/5 cents per $100 (including area rates and economic development levy) decreased $.01 cent per $100 and continues on the five (5) year trend.
Mayor Corkum said, “As with a person’s own personal finances the Town needs to find a balance between putting some money away for savings, paying our ongoing bills and adding some new things to keep up with the times and community requests. This Council has been able to do this consistently each year over its term. I’m very proud of staff and council for their work on the budget and the end result.”
In addition to the 12.5 million dollar Operating Budget the 3.19 million dollar Capital Budget was approved. The Capital Program is the largest it has been in over 10 years. It was noted by Director of Finance, Debra Crowell that, “the borrowing required to fund the work represents only 38% of the fund required. The remaining funds are coming from various Federal and Provincial grants as well as reserves and other sources.” Said Mayor Corkum, “Support from our Federal and Provincial partners is critical and we thank them for that”.
For further detail please reference the Town’s website: www.kentville.ca.
Editorial contact: CAO Mark Phillips