Strategic investments highlight 2017 municipal budget

For Immediate Release November 30, 2016 Happy Valley – Goose Bay, NL – The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay today presented its 2017 municipal budget

For Immediate Release
November 30, 2016

Happy Valley – Goose Bay, NL – The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay today presented its 2017 municipal budget which includes strategic infrastructure investments, improvements to municipal services, enhancements to public spaces, and additional tax relief for low-income property owners.

“It is always a challenge to balance our fiscal realities with varying priorities and projects for the municipality,” says Mayor Jamie Snook. “Council has maintained its fiscally-responsible approach to creating a budget that reflects the needs of the community and our residents. We are confident the strategic investments outlined in the 2017 budget will contribute to the future growth and development of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.”

There will be no increase in the mil rate for residential properties in 2017. However, adjustments have been made to some business tax rates and classes, following an in-depth review of similar types of businesses in the province’s 19 largest municipalities.

“This is the first time business tax rates have been adjusted in years,” says Deputy Mayor Cora Hamel-Pardy, chair of the Town’s Finance, Administration of Policy Committee. “The adjustments will ensure the Town’s taxation system is comparable and consistent with other municipalities.”

The budget will see investments of approximately $7 Million in Multi-Year Capital Works projects, cost-shared on a 70/30 basis with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Investments will be made to improve the water quality within the municipality, particularly in the Valley area, with an investment of $1.96 million to expand the well field at the Water Treatment Plant.

Additional investments have been committed for the following projects:
• $1.5 Million to upgrade five lift stations, as well as $913,000 to upgrade fire pumps at the D42 Reservoir and Sandhill Reservoir, announced earlier this year under the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund;
• $323,000 for upgrades to pumps at the Sandhill Reservoir; and
• $57,000 for a Fire Hall Operational Study.

Significant investments are also allocated for health and wellness initiatives in the municipality. A total of $1.1 million is allocated for engineering work for the Labrador Wellness Centre project, as well as $1.2 million for upgrades to the E. J. Broomfield Memorial Arena.
Approximately $1 million has been allocated to begin the process of improving Kelland Drive on a phased-in approach utilizing federal Gas Tax funds.

“Kelland Drive is one of the community’s most-used thoroughfares and is in desperate need of replacement,” says Mayor Snook. “This project will provide improved access to other parts of the community. Council has placed this multi-million dollar project as a priority and will work to leverage other funds to see it through to completion.”

The Town will also invest $500,000 on projects related to enforcement, fire safety and equipment, community development, recreation, water and sewer, and public works.

In addition, the budget includes a 10 per cent increase in the thresholds for low-income property owners. The 2017 thresholds of combined household income will be as follows:
• 100 per cent discount – less than $25,300;
• 75 per cent discount – between 25,301 and $32,450;
• 50 per cent discount – between $32,451 and $39,600; and
• 25 per cent discount – between $39,601 and $46,750.

In addition, the minimum commercial vacant land tax will increase to $3,750 from $2,500 to encourage lot development within the municipality. Similarly, a $1,500 residential vacant land tax will be implemented to also encourage development.

The Town will also increase tipping fees for commercial refuse originating from locations outside of the municipal boundary. The fees will be reinvested back into the community.

Due in part to input from residents, the Town will also be investing in:
• outdoor recreation at the Mealy Mountain Collegiate Sportsplex;
• additional bear proof bins in public spaces to reduce litter in the community; and
• increased lighting along roadways and crosswalks on municipal streets to increase public safety.

“The investments we are committing this year is a result of feedback we received from residents, as well as Council’s long-term vision for growth and prosperity,” says Deputy Mayor Hamel-Pardy.

Considering the strategic investments announced, the municipality remains fiscally-responsible with a debt servicing ratio of 6 per cent of its operating revenue.

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For more information, please contact:
Naomi Sharpe
Public Relations & Special Events Manager
Town of Happy Valley – Goose Bay
o) 709-896-3254 ; c) 709-896-1609