Town of St. George approves budget for 2020

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St. George – Council for the Town of St. George met for a special meeting January 20, at Magaguadavic Place.

The budget, valued at just over $3.39 million, did not require an increase to the tax rate for 2020. The tax rate holds at $1.40 per $100.00 of assessment. This is the second consecutive year with no change to the tax rate.

As in 2019, utility rates did increase approximately 3 per cent for 2020. Fixed rate users, which consist of primarily residential and commercial users, will have an annual water rate of $365.00 (up from $355) and an annual sewage rate of $160.00 (up from $155), giving the total annual cost for a residential home at $525, which is a $15.00 increase annually.

For industrial users, metered water rate charges for the year 2020 will be $2.54 per 1,000 gallons (up from $2.42) and for sewage treatment, a rate of $2.54 per 1,000 gallons (up from $2.42). The 4.8 per cent increase is largely due to expected reduction in water/sewage demand from industrial users, both from forecast production cuts and from on-going water reduction initiatives by some users.

“Despite a marginal increase in water and sewage expenses for 2020, we must take into account the expected reduction of usages from industrial users”, said Jason N. Gaudet, CAO for the Town of St. George.

“We have had to adjust expenses and utilize operational reserves in order to get through what we expect to be a one-off year of lower production from one of our industrial users. These initiatives avoid passing along cost, as interim as they may be, to the rate payers as a whole.”

Property assessments within the town have increased to $139,243,600 in 2020, a 2 per cent increase over 2019. Cost for protection services remains close to neutral with only slight increases of 2.6 per cent fire protection is forecast at $262,750 with police services (from the RCMP) costing $442,001 in 2020.

The town completed a number of projects in 2019 including revitalizing the Eagles Nest Picnic Area and improvements along Main Street. One project completed was the removal of the old water tower in the town center. The old water tower, located off Carleton Street, built in the mid-1950s, was replaced with a new water tower in 2016. The town also added a new 2-ton plow/dump truck and a new backhoe to the Public Works.

Looking ahead, the town will continue to work on the construction of the splash pad (part of a larger multi-generational park) as well as possible improvements to Canal Beach. In addition, the town is active in several housing developments which it hopes to see result in a new apartment building as well as a housing subdivision.

“We are fairly optimistic on the continued growth and future development for the town.” said Acting Mayor Faith Avery. “As with any municipality, we have had struggles along the way. However, in the end, the town continues on a positive path with many opportunities for a better tomorrow.”

Further budget information is available on the Town of St. George website at www.townofstgeorge.com

For more information, please contact the town office at 506-755-4320, or email: info@town.stgeorge.nb.ca