With a budget increase of 4.4% ($15.299M compared to $14.653M in 2019) and a surplus of about $1.8M to cover unforeseen expenses, TBL’s finances are doing well.
Residents face a tax rate increase of 2.3%, adjusted for inflation; the rate for commercial and industrial ratepayers will remain frozen for the fifth consecutive year.
Presented in mid-December by Mayor Richard Burcombe, General Manager Gilbert Arel and Treasurer Caroline Cusson, the new budget proposals will enable TBL to carry out badly needed upgrades to its infrastructures.
“We are staying the course on our priorities: infrastructures, roads, redevelopment of the town centre and quality of life,” stated General Manager Arel.
On the revenue side, TBL expects to benefit this year from a 38% increase in subsidies, attributable to the new tax pact with the Quebec government, and a rise in subsidies for recycling and composting services, increasingly used by residents.
$3M for work on the Blackwood Dam
The Town’s administration has made reconstruction of the Blackwood Dam and dredging of Mill Pond its main priority in 2020. It forecasts a major investment of $3M for this purpose, approximately $1.8M for rebuilding the dam and $1.2M for dredging work. “In 2011 tropical storm Irene weakened the dam, so we had to lower the level of Mill Pond. As a result, vegetation grew rapidly, while sediments continue to accumulate, to the point that TBL’s iconic pond, which used to reflect the church steeple, continues to lose depth and is becoming a swamp,” explained the General Manager, visibly happy that the Town can at last remedy the situation.
LED street lighting is also in the cards. Much more economic, the system should generate a return on investment in five to six years.
$30 more per home for garbage collection
Caroline Cusson emphasized the cost of handling of waste materials: “Bear in mind that the transport and treatment of garbage is costly and increases a ratepayer’s tax bill ($30 more this year). In contrast, the more we collect recyclable and compostable materials, the more we reduce that cost, because these activities qualify for provincial subsidies. It is possible we will cut in half the number of garbage collections, to one per month instead of two,” she added, “to force residents to adopt more ecofriendly behaviours.”
TBL’s debt has almost doubled in five years; it will reach $12,472M at the end of 2020.
Residential:$0,665; six units and more $0,7875; non-residential: $1.49; industrial/commercial: $1.86; serviced lots: $1.33; agricultural: $0.665
Translation: Tam Davis