At their April 8 meeting Berwick town councilors got their first look at a draft budget for 2013/14 that could see residential and commercial levies jump by 6.2 cents.
In his presentation to council finance director Greg Towne noted “the budget plan is aligned with community goals, preferences and needs.”
The draft budget proposes expenditures of $4,281,300 (up from $4,036,800 in 2013/14.) It maintains existing service levels, funds the current year capital budget while setting up future funding for the five-year capital plan. It also proposes new services or items, including requests to increase grants to organizations, increased funding for road maintenance and tree planting programs, website initiatives to improve event promotion and local services and development initiatives including Pop-Up Markets and local business advocacy.
As presented, the budget currently shows a deficit of $76,000 or increases of 6.2 cents on the residential and commercial tax rates. The final budget position will depend on the final deliberations of Council. Berwick’s current residential and commercial rates are 1.508 cents and 3.80 cents per $100 of assessment, respectively.
Also presented was the proposed 2014/15 capital budget with total expenditures of $2,287,300. Projects for the current year include continuation of the town WiFi project, sidewalk improvements and replacements at various locations in town, planning for future recreation infrastructure at Rainforth Park, resurfacing the multi-use trail, wind generation facility and sewer treatment plant upgrades.
Deliberation on the document will begin at council’s next meeting scheduled for April 22. Towne hopes the base and capital budgets will be confirmed at that time. Discussion of service level initiatives, or those that not critical to town operations and which account for 3.8 cents of the potential 6.2 cent tax hike will be discussed at the May 13 council meeting, when the tax rate will be formally set.
The budget document can be viewed online here.