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Richard Donaldson steps down as Argyle warden but stays on as councillor

Richard Donaldson has stepped down as Argyle warden, but he remains the councillor for the Municipality of Argyle’s District 6. He has been on council since 1991 and became warden in 2016. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Richard Donaldson has stepped down as Argyle warden, but he remains the councillor for the Municipality of Argyle’s District 6. He has been on council since 1991 and became warden in 2016. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Argyle’s tax rates up by two cents each: residential to $1.09, commercial to $2.27

On the same night the Municipality of Argyle approved its budgets for the coming year – with a two-cent increase to its residential and commercial tax rates (the municipality’s first tax hikes in a decade) – Richard Donaldson, Argyle’s warden since 2016, announced he was stepping down from the position.

Donaldson said it was a matter of not being able to commit the time that the warden’s position requires.

Danny Muise, the Municipality of Argyle’s deputy warden, will act as warden until council can meet and choose Donaldson’s successor.

Donaldson’s announcement came at a May 15 meeting of council, where the municipality approved an operating budget of $8.4 million and a capital budget of around $1.6 million.

The residential tax rate was set at $1.09 per $100 of assessment – an increase of two cents – and the commercial rate was set at $2.27, also up by two cents.

For the past 10 years, the municipality had kept its residential rate at $1.07 and, for the past nine years, the commercial rate had been $2.25.

Assessment was a factor in this year’s tax rate increases.

“Argyle traditionally relied on increases of market assessment of property to offset the delivery of services,” said a budget summary. “Market values for properties (have) been growing, but only slightly, and growth for most residential properties has been capped at inflation rates, which have been low for Nova Scotia (some years less than one per cent).”

In some cases, commercial properties have decreased in value, the document said.

“The cost of operation has consistently exceeded the rise in market assessment, and staff has adjusted its investment in services accordingly.”

Also factoring into the rate hike are increased financial requests for key recreational services, including the Mariners Centre expansion, and ongoing investment towards the YMCA and other non-profit organizations.

The municipality has increased its investment in fire protection and safety-related services, including building inspection and bylaw enforcement.

New investments also include emergency management comfort centres and a pilot project supporting Acadian archival services.

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