April 11, 2017; Liverpool, NS: Advanced planning, careful scrutiny of forecasted expenditures, and a progressive approach to providing services has resulted in a budget which will see no increase in tax rates in the Region of Queens Municipality (RQM). On April 11, 2017, the RQM Council approved the 2017/2018 Operational, Capital and Water Utility Budgets during the regular Council meeting, maintaining the taxation rates set in the previous 2016/2017 budget.
“Holding tax rates during times of increasing costs is a challenge”, said David Dagley, Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. “Staff in all departments have worked very hard to reduce their budgets, and Council appreciates the efforts made to reduce costs, while providing key municipal services. We entered office with a mandate to maintain rates, and staff has worked diligently to achieve that goal.”
In January, 2017, RQM Council approved the following Strategic Priorities for their mandate:
o Grow the population and economy
o Deliver desirable Municipal services
o Govern to best municipal practices
Tax rates are calculated based on the cost of providing services required in a municipality. Council has control over some of these costs, but not all. The RQM determines expenses necessary for provision of Municipal services. Transfer payments for services in the Region, such as policing, education, assessment services, corrections, housing authority and road levy also make up a significant portion of the tax rate, but are set by Provincial calculations.
To include items that address and advance Council’s Strategic Priorities, several measures were undertaken. Along with a number of minor budget reductions across the entire budget from each department, other measures include a consolidation of the Recreation Department and Queens Place Emera Centre, and a reduction in administrative staffing. The standard of service delivery is not expected to be affected, as the responsibilities of the positions have been reallocated. Revenue and expenditure numbers for Queens Place Emera Center reflect changes due to additional events, while accomplishing deficit improvements. Funds from the prior years’ operating surplus have been allocated toward the roof replacement at the Town Hall Arts and Cultural Centre, with a matching contribution of $55,000 being funded thorough the Canada 150 Infrastructure Improvement fund.
There are a number of projects and initiatives reflecting the current priorities funded in this year’s budget. This spring/summer, the Mersey Skatepark and BMX Bike Trail Project will be completed, and open to the public. Work will progress on the Main Street and School Street infrastructure projects, a $2.1 million project funded jointly through the Federal Clean Water, Waste Water fund, Provincial funding, and the RQM. Work will continue to develop a solution for renewal or replacement of the Hillsview Acres facility. Council looks forward to increased employment at Port Mersey, and other locations in Queens County. Promoting population growth, accommodation facilities, tourism, and business infrastructure, will increase our economic stability and tax base. A revitalization and review of the Municipality’s Attraction and Municipal Planning Strategies is also planned.
Community support remains an important priority, and the 2017/2018 budget sees continued support to fire departments, community organizations through the Grants to Organizations program, Recreation Department Community grants program, and aquatics assistance training subsidy program. Tax exemptions for nonprofit community organizations and low income individuals will also continue.
District 1 – 12 are $1.02/$100 Assessment (area rate in District 5 & 6 is $0.06)
District 13 (former Town of Liverpool) is $1.90/$100 Assessment
District 1 – 12 are $2.12/$100 Assessment (area rate in District 5 & 6 is $0.06)
District 13 (former Town of Liverpool) is $3.00/$100 Assessment
The 2017/2018 Region of Queens Municipality's operating and capital budgets are posted online.