Modest tax hike for some residents, whittling of taxes to businesses

By Mike Moore | The Pearl

City council voted unanimously during the Tuesday afternoon public meeting to bring in the budget for the upcoming year.

The city’s budget will be $54,433,000.

“The choice we make today chart a path to what we want our city to look like in 10, 20 and even 50 years,” said Coun. Andrea Power, addressing council and those in attendance in the gallery.

“Because a budget is about more than revenues and expenses — it’s about people.”

There are some increases and decreases across the board, notably the residential property mil rate increasing to 7.4 from 7.0 in 2018, and the commercial mil rate decreasing to 11.5, with property tax rates for businesses reducing by 4 per cent. The city used general commercial mil rates as an example, dropping from 17.5 to 16.8 mils.

The increase to the residential mil rate is due to a 3 per cent downfall for property values within the city, or $500, 000 in real dollar value from the city’s budget.

With that, the city is introducing a scaled taxation program for start-up businesses in 2019, helping to foster business growth and draw in potential business start-ups.

“The budget is about making sure Mount Pearl is the community we want to live in,” Power said.

“It’s about establishing not only who we are, but who we want to be, and making sure we have a plan to get there.”

The city’s revenue will be drawn from eight areas:

- 32 per cent from residential property tax, $17, 195, 000.

- 24 per cent from business tax, $12, 822, 000.

- 16 per cent from commercial property tax, $8, 586, 000.

- 11 per cent from residential water and wastewater fees.

- 7 per cent from government grants, $3, 756, 000.

- 4 per cent from commercial water and wastewater fees.

- 4 per cent from sales of goods and services, $2, 395, 000.

- 2 per cent from other municipal revenue, $893, 000.

- Water and wastewater fees combined from residential and businesses, $8, 587, 000.

While shooting to bring in new businesses to the city, upgrading and redeveloping business areas within the community such as Commonwealth Avenue, the business hub of Merchant Drive and Donovan’s Industrial Park, the city will continue to look after their own.

$450, 000 will be allocated to operating subsidies for the Admiralty House, The Association for the Arts, The Seniors Independence Group, Frosty Festival and the Mount Pearl Sport Alliance, and an additional $240, 000 for snow removal. $2 million will go towards replacing and upgrading city vehicles such as snow plows and garbage trucks.

City expenditures are broken into eight categories:

- 22 per cent for transportation services, $12, 101, 000.

- 16 per cent for general government, $8, 974, 000.

- 16 per cent for capital.

- 15 per cent for community services, $7, 990, 000.

- 11 per cent for environmental health, $5, 783, 000.

- 11 per cent for protective services, $6, 111, 000.

- 7 per cent for debt management.

- 3 per cent for planning and development, $1, 423, 000.

- Capital and debt management combined, $12, 051, 000.

“Budgets are never easy … but it’s always about balancing, in terms of the current situation as well as our future” Mayor Dave Aker said after the vote on the budget passed.

“It’s about balancing what we think that our residents and our business ultimately can perform … A job well done.”

Posted on January 9, 2019 .