top of page

SV ups water & sewer tax rates in Budget 2024

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter STEPHENVILLE — The last council meeting for 2023 took place on Thursday evening, Dec. 14. Matters discussed included a tax write off for the Stephenville Airport Corporation, the sale of the Stephenville industrial building, repealing an invoice for the Stephenville Dymond International Airport, and the adoption of Budget 2024. Stephenville Airport Corporation Deputy Mayor Susan Fowlow, on behalf of the Finance Committee, moved that the Town of Stephenville write off property and business tax with interest to Aug. 25, 2023 in the amount of $350,497.05 for the Stephenville Airport Corporation. “Just to clarify, the Stephenville Airport Corporation has been registered as a corporation since, I believe, 1998, but they actually became the airport authority running the airport in 2008. So they were non-share. So over the years, we always wrote off the business and property tax. They always paid water and sewer tax,” said Mayor Tom Rose. “But this write off was coming from a previous motion as a commitment of the sale of the property to take the lien off of those nonprofit, non-share board of directors that we wrote off the business and property tax up to August 25. So now the taxes go forward with the Dymond Group.” The motion was passed by council with six votes for and one vote against by Coun. Lenny Tiller. Stephenville industrial building Deputy Mayor Susan Fowlow, on behalf of the Finance Committee, moved that the Town of Stephenville proceed with the proposal for the sale of land and Stephenville industrial building submitted by World Energy GH2. The motion was approved unanimously by council. SV Dymond Airport lease Deputy Mayor Susan Fowlow, on behalf of the Finance Committee, moved that the Town of Stephenville repeal an invoice in the amount of $3,404.20, excluding HST, issued to the Stephenville Dymond International Airport for the GPU lease payments for the month of September and prorated for the month of August. The Stephenville Dymond International Airport assumed the lease from the town of Stephenville, effective October 1, 2023. “So, basically, we had a lease. We owned the lease. We were responsible financially for the lease. And when the airport sale took place, from August 25, it took a little bit of time,” said Rose. “So the lease was taken over by the Dymond group, but we were still responsible for the lease payment. So our fiduciary legal responsibility is to pay the lease until the transfer happened. So by the time the lease transfer happened, it was October, so they’ve taken it till then.” The motion was passed by council by a vote of six to one. Budget 2024 Ahead of the adoption of Budget 2024, Deputy Mayor Fowlow shared a few words. “I’d like to thank council and staff who work diligently to prepare the budget, and we’re pleased to announce that we’ve met our planned goals and objectives for 2023, including a high collection rate. The objective of every year’s budget is to fund areas of key services and infrastructure that enable our town to function smoothly and optimally in the town’s administrative framework. These areas include corporate results , economic vitality, good governance, livable community, public safety and sustainable infrastructure. The importance of the annual municipal budget cannot be stressed enough. Every year, the budget process defines our town and lays down the path to be followed over the next fiscal term. To be specific about the town’s revenue sources, it’s the property tax alone that accounts for the majority of the town’s revenue sources. The 2024 budget will see no changes in the residential mil rate, remaining at 7.2 mils, while the commercial mill rate will slightly increase from eight mils to 8.2 mils,” said Fowlow. “Residential water and sewer tax moves from $336 per household to $384, an increase of $48 per household. This is the first such increase in close to 20 years. The commercial water and sewer tax moves from $648 dollars to $704, an increase of $96. As you can appreciate, the global impact on rising costs for goods has impacted our operations and therefore we’ve made this adjustment to reflect those costs. In 2024, the Town of Stephenville will undertake three major infrastructure projects, which include the Main Street revitalization, Russell Heights and Rose Avenue upgrades — in total, an investment from federal, provincial and municipal governments of $6.8 million. The town has recently issued RFPs for the sale of town assets, including land and unoccupied properties. It’s our goal to reinvest monies into town infrastructure to resources and community initiatives for 2024 and into the future. We must ensure that we prepare for the future growth of our town and ensure we provide quality services to all our residents. Our town is preparing for significant growth and we must be prepared to ensure sound infrastructure, community engagement and ensure our residents have a healthy quality of life.” The budget for 2024 is one that council believes can be easily managed by the Town of Stephenville. “We’re committed to building stronger neighborhoods and to provide quality services to our residents. Having said that, be it resolved that the Town of Stephenville, in accordance with section 77.1 or 77, one of the Municipalities act, adopt the 2024 budget with operating revenues and expenditures totaling $10,314,907.92,” concluded Fowlow. “I wanted to thank the finance committee, the rest of council, management, staff or finance person for all hard work they put in,” said Coun. Tiller. “And some of the decisions were tough, but was what we had to do. I thank everybody around the table.” “I think when we go from a $9 million budget to a $10 million budget, it shows that the town is growing, and that’s very important, and I think because of the announcements from World Energy, with the Dymond Group, the future for 2024 looks very, very bright. The very marginal increase of 0.02 per cent on the business tax represents $20 on $100,000, very marginal, but the spread is only one mil between residential and business. That’s very tight, and as a ranking, Stephenville has a very good reputation by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business that we don’t have a very high tax rate for business. So that bodes very well,” said Rose. “As you all know, we’re very fortunate in Stephenville because we have one of the best water systems, aquifers and various wells. Providing high quality water comes with a cost, and because our town has poised expansion plans, we have to reinvest in some water expansions. We also have to reinvest in our sewer treatment and effluent, as it was only designed for 7,800 people. We’re about 6,300 people now with growth strategies that’s going to probably go into 10,000 personnel before not too long in the future. So we have to do some investments in our infrastructure. Some of these fees that you mentioned, deputy mayor, haven’t gone up in 20 years, and if anybody’s running a business or a household or picking up groceries or paying employees, everything goes up. So it’s a very good budget, and the really good news is, from a financial perspective, our debt load that we’re carrying for our loan disbursements in 2024 is only a 5 per cent debt load ratio. A lot of municipalities in this province are running 15 per cent to 20 per cent at the max. So we’re in really good shape. We have assets on the books for sale, and this town has never looked brighter from a financial or a growth perspective.” The motion was passed unanimously by council.

6 views0 comments


bottom of page