Town of Saint Andrews approves budget, lowers tax rate

SAINT ANDREWS: Bucking the trend of most costs going up, the council in Saint Andrews was able to lower the town’s tax rate from $1.26 per $100 of assessment to $1.20.

To comply with changes to the Province of New Brunswick’s Assessment Act, towns must complete and supply their budgets by the end of November. After meetings during the months of September and October, council members gave their final approval at the Nov. 8 regular meeting of council.

Saint Andrews Mayor Brad Henderson said while he’s shocked to hear himself say it, setting the budget was a pleasant task this year.

“That was an enjoyable process with you, and you made them very quickly and we made some big decisions for next year already,” he said during the meeting.

Because of the growth Saint Andrews and the entire province have experienced, mill rates were able to be lowered.

“(I want) Residents of Saint Andrews to be aware that the mill rate is going from $1.26, reduced to $1.20, that is the action of council and staff realizing that the assessments in the Town of Saint Andrews, and the whole province, but especially Saint Andrews have gone up significantly,” he said.

“Services do cost more, but we realize there is only so much that can be passed on to the taxpayers of Saint Andrews, and we hope to continue to grow our tax base.

“We want to do that through community growth, and not on the back of our taxpayers, if in any way possible.”

However, there is a bill that will be increasing.

“There is a slight increase in water rates that will be happening in the Town of Saint Andrews, the reality is the cost of water has dramatically risen, and if the town does not do something, the amount of debt we are going to have in that particular fund is going to have a strain on the community,” said Henderson.

“Doing nothing, unfortunately is not an option.”

However, it shouldn’t be very noticeable to taxpayers with the decrease to the mill rate.

“For the average household, the mill rate decrease, the amount of savings a taxpayer will have will be more significant than the rise in the water bill,” said Henderson. “We do take it into consideration that bills are going up everywhere you look, and we are trying to make it as little as possible.”

Abby Cameron