Lantzville looks at conservative budget

The District of Lantzville released the first draft of its five-year financial plan this week, which includes a two-per cent tax increase this year.

The preliminary forecast for 2013 is a ‘conservative, adjust-to-the times’ budget, including a few capital expenditures for road and water improvements and a new part-time planner position, said Mayor Jack de Jong.

“The rest of council still has to mull through this and see where we go but there seems like fairly good consensus that it’s a good budget,” he said. “I realize that although we’re putting some new positions, much of the work was done before by contract, so we’re already incurring the expenses anyway.”

The $1.46-million budget (up from $1,425,123 in 2012) accounts for basic service levels, a $12 increase in the solid waste parcel tax to generate sufficient revenue for cost recovery, and increases to staff wages and benefits negotiated in the new collective agreement in 2012. The part-time planner position, worth $50,380 in 2013, is also incorporated into the wage increases. Major capital expenditures include a $232,000 water main replacement at Peterson Road, and $300,000 in asphalt replacement and overlay at Ware Road and Tremblay Drive.

During budget deliberations, council will consider a number of special request items considered beyond the district’s core services. They include a $13,800 request to increase the seasonal parks labourer position to 12 months full-time, from eight months; $4,500 for a new position at Lantzville Fire Department; and a $1,500 increase in remuneration for the fire chief/deputy positions. If approved, the requests would bump up the tax requisition by 1.35 per cent.

De Jong said it is important to remember the numbers are not final, but he expects very little change as council works toward approving a final budget.

“We’re a very small community, we only have 1,500 taxpayers, and so even $50,000 starts to count when you have that low a tax base,” he said. “People look at Lantzville sometimes and say we’re a rich community but our average income isn’t that high.”

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