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Tax rates remain the same as Town of Yarmouth approves 2019-2020 operating budget

Yarmouth Town Hall. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
Yarmouth Town Hall. TINA COMEAU PHOTO - Tina Comeau
YARMOUTH, N.S. —

The Town of Yarmouth has approved its operating budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year and tax rates remain the same as last year.
The residential rate is $1.66 per $100 of assessment and the commercial rate is $4.28 per $100 of assessment. 
Last year, the town had forecasted a budget surplus of $2,430, but a deficit of $160,920.48 is listed in the actuals, which has yet to be confirmed through audit. The deficit will be covered by other operating surplus funds that have accumulated over the years. 
This coming year, the town is budgeting another small surplus of $3,200.
The expenses listed in this budget, which was approved on March 16, add up to $17,695,031.
The town expects to take in $12,676,228 in taxes this year, which is $73 more than it had budgeted for the previous year.
Some areas of spending in the operating budget include:
• $2,259,836 for fire protection (includes fire protection, training, equipment, fire station, emergency measures, etc)
• $2,493,189 for police protection
• $30,400 for animal control
• $105,072 for building inspection
• $153,400 for public transit
• $175,000 on fixing potholes
• $450,000 on other paving projects
• $2,387,270 on environmental health services (ie: environmental health, sewage plant, garbage collection and disposal, compost facility, etc)
• $1,114,696 on recreation and cultural services (ie: rec. programs, parks and facilities, parks maintenance, waterfront marina, ballpark maintenance, town properties, etc)
The operating budget is separate from the town’s capital budget. 

You can view the budget document that was included with the May 16 Yarmouth town council agenda by clicking here.


RENUMERATION
Another area of finances that required council approval on May 16 was the remuneration policy for council members. The honorariums had been adjusted to reflect changes in Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) rules. Whereby in the past the honorariums were subject to some tax exemption, now the amounts are fully taxable. The adjustments are to ensure the honorarium take-home remains the same as it was before the CRA changes. 
The amounts approved by council are a $44,800 annual honorarium for the mayor, $31,141 for the deputy mayor and $25,961 for councillors.
As for how those honorariums compare to other municipal units in Yarmouth County, a policy in the Municipality of Argyle states effective Jan.1, 2019, the warden shall receive an honorarium of $35,300 per annum, with the deputy warden receiving $24,200 and councillors receiving $21,700. Salary adjustments are made annually on April 1 for the Consumer Price Index.
In the Municipality of Yarmouth, during the previous fiscal year the warden had received an honorarium of $36,895; the deputy warden $25,504 and councillors $21,962. The 2019-2020 remuneration rates will be ratified at council’s next meeting on May 22. They will be changing, as well, to reflect the changes in CRA rules. The operating and capital budgets for the 2019-2020 fiscal year will also be coming before council at the May 22 meeting.

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