Town of Stratford’s draft budget sees costs increase due to community growth, inflation
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STRATFORD, P.E.I. — Bills are anticipated to extend total for the City of Stratford largely resulting from development and inflation, in accordance with its not too long ago launched draft finances for 2023-24.
In a March 6 public presentation, Coun. Ron Dowling, chair of the finance and expertise committee, mentioned whereas Stratford’s persevering with development might look financially optimistic on the floor, within the brief time period, it has some drawbacks.
“Progress, in truth, stretches our funds and budgets over the brief time period,” mentioned Dowling throughout the presentation. “There are various calls for positioned on companies, infrastructure, programming and extra, which stay each a problem and a possibility to ship.”
Within the draft finances, bills are up throughout the board, with an anticipated price of $9,696,300 for 2023-24 over the budgeted $8.4 million for 2022-23. The precise spending for final yr was round 1,000,000 much less at $7.4 million.
The largest merchandise for bills is anticipated to be infrastructure, which sits at $1.7 million for the yr, up from the $1.2 million budgeted for 2022.
Work is anticipated to start on the group campus venture this yr, in addition to different initiatives reminiscent of renewable vitality upgrades to city buildings, upgrades to the city’s energetic transportation community and continued dredging of Moore’s and Kelly’s ponds, to call just a few.
Policing and fireplace companies additionally make up a big a part of the city’s bills, each of that are anticipated to extend this yr. Police companies are anticipated to price the city $1,100,400, and fireplace companies will price $787,800.
Dowling mentioned RCMP wages have elevated resulting from a brand new nationwide collective settlement, and the city is at the moment in discussions with the province and Public Security Canada concerning the retroactive again pay owed to the RCMP resulting from that settlement.
Inflation can be anticipated to squeeze the finances, reminiscent of within the bills for the city’s occasions and packages. Dowling mentioned the city is budgeting for an inflationary enhance for provides, supplies and instructors after many of the city’s programming ran at, or nearly at, full capability final yr.
Nevertheless, regardless of the finances being tight, Dowling mentioned the city is in place financially.
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- A digital copy of the draft finances, in addition to the video of the presentation of the finances and the web survey, could be found online.
On the income facet, the city is anticipating $9,696,600 for the yr, 1,000,000 greater than final yr’s anticipated income, leaving the city with a surplus of $300. Nevertheless, that surplus is topped off with a optimistic depreciation worth of $960,000, leaving the excess at $442,100 after a principal cost to the city’s debt.
Whereas sewer and water charges are set to extend by $55.40 yearly, based mostly on a single-family dwelling, each business and residential tax charges will see no enhance.
“Nevertheless, yearly turns into increasingly more tough to realize this,” mentioned Dowling, noting the city is working with the P.E.I. Federation of Municipalities to barter a rise to its present revenue-sharing settlement with the province.
As that is solely the draft of the 2023-24 finances, the city was looking for public enter via a web based survey, which closed on March 14 at midday.
The finances is ready to be finalized by city council in late March.
Cody McEachern is a municipal reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. He could be reached by e-mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @CodyInHiFi.