Town apply for special fund

Although the final “download” numbers aren’t in, the town could get some provincial dollars to help it cope.
At its regular meeting Monday, town council approved submitting an application for special circumstances dollars to help it get through the “download.”
But in order to meet the March 6 deadline, council gave the Administration and Finance executive committee the go-ahead to submit the final application.
“It’s very non-specific at this point,” noted Administration and Finance manager Darryl Allan. “I have no idea how much is even in this special circumstances fund.
“[But] we’re looking at which areas we could maximize our revenue from,” he added.
There are four areas under which municipalities can apply for funding:
ocosts associated with the transfer of programs;
oassistance to meet or find the savings target of 1.7 percent of its ’96 budget;
oa large drop in assessment base; and
orestructuring (amalgamation).
Allan noted they were looking to see if they were eligible for the first three.
Two areas the special circumstances fund doesn’t cover, though, are the loss of connecting link funding and the loss of the municipal support grant. These aren’t associated with the “Who Does What” recommendations.
“It’s a major concern on the quick turnaround,” admitted Coun. Dave Bourgeault, who stressed they were losing up to $3 million with the connecting link funding.
“But if there’s money available, we should get right on it,” he noted.
“This money will be over-subscribed,” agreed Allan.
In related news, the first tax bill for town property owners will go out on schedule at the end of March. But with the 1998 levy yet to be set, the bill will be for 50 percent of the taxpayer’s ’97 education and property tax bill.
The actual levy–with any adjustments–will come out on the second bill, slated for the end of June.
Coun. Bourgeault warned some property owners might be facing an extra bite; not because of the possible levy increase but because of the provincial reassessment.
“Some of the homes in town are going to be facing a higher assessment, which has nothing to do, of course, with the tax rate we are going to set,” he noted.
About 19,000 properties throughout the district were reassessed, based on 725 real estate sales in the district from 1994-96.
Anyone with questions on their new assessment, which is arriving in the mail, can contact the assessment office in the Scenic Mall on Second Street East.
Information sessions also will be held at the Civic Centre on March 16 and 18 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and again March 17 from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. No appointment is necessary.