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Wolfville town council approves operating budget with slight tax rate increases

Wolfville Mayor Jeff Cantwell speaks at the heritage property plaque unveiling ceremony for the Acadia Cinema building. - Kirk Starratt
Wolfville Mayor Jeff Cantwell says he is pleased the budget passed by Wolfville town council allows for the continuation of strategic initiatives while having a "minimum effect on the tax rate for residents." - File Photo
WOLFVILLE, N.S. —

Wolfville town council has approved the operating budget and capital plan for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, including small increases to the tax rates.

At a recent meeting, Wolfville town council approved an operating budget totalling $10.7 million, with a capital investment plan totalling $4.15 million.

“I am very happy that, once again, we have been able to pass a budget for the new fiscal year while being able to continue our strategic initiatives with minimum effect on the tax rate for residents,” Mayor Jeff Cantwell said.

The residential tax rate has increased by half a cent to $1.465 per $100 of assessed property value, which means that, on average, for 86 per cent of residential properties, tax bills will increase by less than the cost of living.

The commercial tax rate has increased by half a cent per $100 of assessed value to $3.575. The Business Development Area Rate has been reduced by two cents.

“On average, the property tax bill for residents will increase by 1.76 per cent, which is below the cost of living adjustment,” Director of Financial Services Mike MacLean said. “We will also have the highest level of property tax exemption for low income residents in the Valley and are very pleased that we are able to offer that exemption, all within a balanced budget.”

The 2019-2020 capital budget continues council’s focus on improving basic street infrastructure as well as community areas, amenities and protecting the shoreline. Streets included for infrastructure renewal are Seaview Avenue, Westwood (Main to Irving Centre) and Gaspereau – Willow (up to civic 94).

Capital investment over the next two fiscal years in the amount of $850,000 is intended to turn the so-called east end gateway to the town into a welcoming and enjoyable space. Proposed upgrades include a new visitor information centre, upgrades to Willow Park and upgrades to the Harvest Moon trail head that will serve to announce and articulate the arrival into Wolfville’s downtown core.

Did you know?

The Town’s Operating budget will continue to enhance council priorities for the community. In 2019-2020 the town will:

  • Hire a climate change and energy co-ordinator to increase its focus on environmental initiatives.
  • Continue to partner with the towns of Kentville and Berwick and the County of Kings to complete a Regional Recreation Needs Assessment.
  • Continue to build on the partnership with Acadia University and Acadia Students Union to promote community harmony.
  • Provide grants to organizations totalling $178,900 through the Strategic Partnership Program, Community Partnership Program and other grants approved by council.
  • Complete amendments to the town’s Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use Bylaw.
  • Develop a Party Registration Bylaw.
  • Conduct a community engagement exercise to help better define the town’s recreational needs and values.
  • Increase the Low-Income Tax Exemption to $650 for those households not exceeding an income threshold of $27,413.
  • Start to operationalize the priorities identified in the town’s Accessibility Plan.

GO ONLINE:

The complete 2019/20 Budget and Operations Plan will be available on the Town of Wolfville website at www.wolfville.ca.

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