Council passes zero percent budget increase

GORDON-BARRIE ISLAND—Gordon-Barrie Island council has passed its 2016 budget which will see no increase in the municipal tax rate.

“At our May 3 council meeting we passed our 2016 budget,” stated Gordon-Barrie Island Reeve Lee Hayden earlier this week. He noted the budget calls for, “a zero percent increase in our municipal tax rate.”

Reeve Hayden explained, “in the budget there is an increase in spending this year, compared to 2015, of almost $70,000.” The municipal share is $890,324 in 2016 compared to $820,706 in 2015.

“Of that increase in spending, $42,450 is a much higher increase in our policing costs (a 43 percent increase) due to the new policing costing formula which is more heavily weighted  to the cost of dwellings including hunt camps and cottages; instead of being weighted based on population and occurrences the police respond to,” explained Reeve Hayden.

“We are one of the municipalities that is being hit harder because of the change in the formula for policing costs,” said Reeve Hayden. He said this is because Gordon-Barrie Island has a low population and fairly high density of dwellings.

Reeve Hayden pointed out, “council has also endorsed an aggressive approach to maintaining our surface treated municipal roads and have increased the amount of our year’s schedule for priming municipal roads by three kilometers per year (from five) to eight kilometers per year to be primed. This should in turn ensure well maintained municipal roads,” he said. The increase is roughly $38,000 in the budget, he said.

“This hopefully  explains why there is a spending increase overall but a zero percent increase in our municipal tax rate,” added Reeve Hayden.