The Municipality of Digby approved its budget last month with no increases in residential or commercial tax rates.
“Our tax rates are the same as before. One of the things I’m proud of is that we have been able to maintain the tax rate for several years,” Warden Jimmy MacAlpine said.
“People ask how we mange things when our costs go up. Assessments on properties increase slightly but we always strive to make sure that we don’t increase the rate. We try to be careful on how we spend the money and try to live within the budget that we have to work.”
The Municipality of the District of Digby has had no tax increases in the last 13 years, he noted.
MacAlpine outlined several highlights of the 2019-2020 budgets.
“There are several important things we are working on,” he said. “First, we’re working with our municipal partners to get rural high speed internet. If you’re in a rural area, you know the importance of that. So we’re working with our partners in this part of the province to see what we can do as a group to move that forward. That’s one of our biggest priorities.”
The municipality is also working to address problems arising from climate change.
“We now have a person on staff to address climate change. He’s a renewable energy climate change coordinator and he will be managing a new project,” MacAlpine explained. “We want to put tidal meters in the waters in our area because of the rising sea level to monitor changes and to understand and assess the impact on our low-lying communities. We budgeted to purchase some of those units and have them installed. That’s something brand new this year.”
Another priority is purchasing a new bus for transit.
“We’re part of Kings Transit. We want to replace an aging bus that’s been costing a good bit of money for maintenance,” he said.
MacAlpine also noted that many expenses are fixed.
“When you look at a budget for a municipality, we’re no different from other municipalities that many of our expenses are fixed with mandatory expenses in areas such education and policing. We do spend quite a bit of money on safety – policing and fire protection.”
Other budgeted items focus on recreational services.
“We continue to try to invest in recreation and culture. We have a joint recreation commission with the Town of Digby and that’s been working well over the years. We have good management at the recreation centre and they provide excellent programming and services for the residents and the municipality,” said MacAlpine.
WRITTEN BY ANITA FLOWERS