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2019-20 BUDGET APPROVAL

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Bridgewater approves 2019-20 budget; no tax rate increase, more money for paving renewal, and funding for permanent Transit among key items

BRIDGEWATER – The Town of Bridgewater concluded the 2019-20 budget process on Monday night by officially approving the budget document and setting the tax rate for the coming fiscal year, which will remain the same.

The residential rate is set at $1.65 per $100 of assessment for an eighth-straight year, while the commercial tax rate will remain at $3.97 per $100 of assessment. The only changes in both the residential and commercial tax rates since 2010-11 have been decreases.

The Town will spend approximately $20.3 million next year on operations and $4.3 million on capital projects, making many key investments to further enable growth and improved quality of life in the community.

“Despite the pressures of a growing town, increased downloading of costs, and infrastructure challenges, the only changes to the Town of Bridgewater’s residential and commercial tax rates during the last nine years have been decreases,” said Mayor David Mitchell.

“This year, Town Council also added public transit as a core, permanent service to Bridgewater and increased our pavement renewal budget by approximately 50%, and yet, despite all this, we were once again able to produce and pass a budget with no tax rate increase to our residents and businesses,” he explained. “This is a testament to the hard work of our staff and the direction Council is taking our community.”

Town Council, he added, will continue to advocate for changes to the funding models that see Bridgewater’s taxpayers saddled with an artificially high tax rate resulting from subsidization of roads and policing services outside the community.

“We strive to seek a fair balance across Nova Scotia that will benefit the province as a whole,” he said. “We will continue to push for changes in how funds from other levels of government are allocated to ensure fair and equitable funding, and a realization that our taxpayers are artificially subsidizing lower tax rates outside towns and cities in Nova Scotia.”

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BUDGET 2019-20 HIGHLIGHTS

  • • No tax rate increase – the residential rate will remain, for an eighth-straight year, at $1.65 per $100 of assessment. Meanwhile, the commercial tax rate will remain at $3.97 per $100 of assessment, and that rate has only decreased since 2010-11.
  • • More investments are being made in wastewater treatment infrastructure and the Town’s paving budget. In 2019-20, more than $1 million will be invested in pavement renewal and street maintenance projects in Bridgewater, supporting our community’s continued growth. At the same time, an additional $1 million will be invested in updating and upgrading our community’s wastewater treatment system, a positive step forward in efficiency and protecting our environment.
  • • Council has committed $50,000 in new money to the Downtown Façade Improvement Program, a funding pot that is designed to support commercial building owners and businesses on King Street looking to make exterior façade renovations. Since being established in 2016, the program has already provided approximately $50,000 in funds to support façade improvement projects in the downtown.
  • • Council has also committed to additional improvements in Downtown Bridgewater, earmarking money for deck and railing improvements to the North Parkade and the hiring of a dedicated Events Coordinator to oversee and develop programming to draw visitors to the downtown.
  • • As was previously announced by Town Council, Bridgewater Transit has been made a permanent and core Town service. It is expected that Transit will cost $241,761 to operate in 2019-20. A capital reserve of $150,000, established in 18-19, continues to be in place to assist with future Transit-related purchases.
  • • Bridgewater’s contribution to the LCLC’s operating budget has decreased by approximately $20,000 compared to last year.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

David Mitchell
Mayor, Town of Bridgewater
902-541-4364

Tammy (Crowder) Wilson
CAO, Town of Bridgewater

902-541-4363