The Town of Riverview approved the 2017 budget which includes major investments road repair as well as upgrading Ridgeway Park, We also did approve a small tax increase as well. The tax rate in Riverview has only increase 1.8% in the last 14 years which is less than the annual inflation rate over 14 years. As costs continue to rise for general town operations, let alone any new capital expenditures, it is imperative that we plan for the future. A tax increase was inevitable and Council felt that rather than letting it continue to go unaddressed, we would implement a small increase now to avoid a large increase later on. Below is the press release from the Town of Riverview.
Town Council approves 2017 municipal budgets
Earlier today, Riverview Town Council approved an operating budget of $28.07 million. The 2017 General Operating Fund Budget passed with a tax rate of $1.5826 per $100 of a property’s assessed value. This two-cent increase equates to an average annual tax increase of $30 (based on a home with an assessed value of $150,000 in 2016). The Town of Riverview has made no increase to the tax rate since 2010.
For the second consecutive year the Town has generated limited new revenue from the property tax assessment base mainly as a result of market conditions. As a result, all municipal departments were directed to reduce non-salary budgets by 4% resulting in more than $300,000 in cost savings achieved through service alternatives and reductions.
Mayor Ann Seamans noted how collaborative and forward-thinking the Town’s financial planning has been as the new Council completes its first municipal budget.
“Budgets are getting tougher each year and it’s critical for Council to make decisions with the best long-term interests of the Town in mind,” Seamans said. “Council is not only focused on what is important in 2017 but what the priorities must be for the future of our community. Together with staff we spent more than 10 hours reviewing and deliberating the details of these budgets. Overall Council is satisfied that the Town of Riverview will continue to deliver high-quality services to residents and businesses while tackling our town’s infrastructure needs and keeping costs affordable for taxpayers.”
Strategic investments in new operational activities include $50,000 for facilities and asset management, $50,000 to start implementing the Town’s three-year Marketing and Communication Strategy, $25,000 to continue the holiday ‘Light Up Riverview’ campaign, and $3,000 for a Local Artist Purchasing Fund. Slight increases to the operating budget in 2017 are targeted to address long-term infrastructure requirements in the community.
Other highlights from the 2017 General Operating Budget include:
• Council’s continued commitment to fund some capital projects with a ’Pay-As-You-Go’ approach by allocating $2.8 million in the General Operating Budget for capital expenditures.
• $1.7 million for a balloon debt payment to reduce existing debt.
• A $250,000 allocation to the capital reserve earmarked for a future Wellness Centre. This is the second installment of funds set aside for this project.
• Council’s allocation of the increase in the Town’s 2017 equalization grant and the 2 cent property tax increase to capital reserves to fund Town projects that will address aging infrastructure requirements.
Council also approved the 2017 Capital Budget, which was in line with the Town’s 10-year Capital Plan. Key projects in the 2017 General Capital Budget include:
• Six Local Improvement Projects for Hawkes Street, Ashburn Avenue, Wentworth Drive, Prescott Drive, Olive Street and Fatima Avenue.
• $800,000 for the Town’s Street Pavement Program focused on Woolridge Street, Beverly Crescent, Hawthorne Drive, McClelan Avenue, Chesswood Drive, Lumsden Road and Turtle Creek Road.
• New active transportation path connecting Hillsborough Road bike lanes to the Riverfront Trail.
• New sidewalk on Cleveland Avenue to help address safety concerns in the school zone.
• $600,000 for pool upgrades and a new pool building at Lion Ken Gabbey Community Pool. The Town has received $132,000 from the Canada 150 Fund for this project and a community contribution from the Riverview Lion’s Club.
• Enhanced parks and green spaces including continued work at Winter Wonderland Park, trail network expansion in Mill Creek Nature Park, and play equipment upgrades at Ridgeway Park.
• A new Codiac Transpo bus in the fall of 2017. The Town received 50% of the funding for this project from the Government of Canada’s Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.
Council also approved the 2017 Water and Sewer Utility Operating Budget in the amount of $7.3 million. Residential water bills will increase by $5 per quarter. The rate increase for 2017 will finance a number of items including the Town’s plan to continue replacement of old cast iron pipes which will improve the system and reduce the number of water main breaks. The rate increase will also fund anticipated water distribution costs the Town will incur from its purchase agreement with the City of Moncton.