By Mike Moore | The Irish Loop Post
Members of the Witless Bay town council voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt the 2019 budget for the municipality.
The 2019 budget will see a slight bump in expenditures to $1,351,093 up from $1,265,607 in 2018.
Residential property tax will remain with a mil rate of 4, while commercial properties will stand with a mil rate of 8.
Financial institutions, such as banks, and heavy equipment and construction businesses will have to take the heaviest hits with 40 mills and 50 mills respectively.
Councillor Lucy Carew said from the 2018 to the now 2019 budget, the town has zero debt.
Much of the town’s 2019 budget will go into handling erosion projects around the seaside town, road repairs, completion of the Southside Track project, an extension to the Puffin Centre, bathrooms and change rooms for the swimming pool and new playground equipment.
“Some of these things will obviously be done through the Capital Works Program … but still it all provides us with an opportunity to do that,” Carew said during the council’s last public meeting of 2018.
“We still continue to see a growth in our community. We still get those permits for new homes,” Carew added. “We have new residents moving in and we’re going to make it a goal in 2019, certainly, to make Witless Bay a more welcoming community.”
In other matters stemming from Tuesday night’s meeting, council voted unanimously to grant the Witless Bay Volunteer Fire Department $51, 906 to purchase new equipment.
Two potential homes at 43 and 45 Carter’s Road were denied applications by the town due to lack of documentation or information submitted to council. The applications have been deferred until the next council meeting in January, pending proper documentation has been submitted to the town.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, two homes were granted approval by the town at 24 Murphy’s Lane and 73 Gallows Cove Road.
The town has also approved a municipal storage garage for the Town Hall which can be constructed and broken down when necessary.
Adding to the positive growth theme, the town will be looking for some help in the near future in the form of a seasonal maintenance worker.
There was some debate regarding whether or not the town should have the job open only to locals of Witless Bay, but councillor Chris Briston argued the job should be open to anybody and everybody, so that Witless Bay can benefit from hiring the most experienced candidate possible.
“Just because you’re from Witless Bay, I mean that wouldn’t make sense. Not saying we don’t want to hire locally, but you have to hire someone to do the job,” Brinston said. “If we got a journeyman carpenter, a plumber or electrician who wants the job, and a fellow who’s cutting lawns, who are you going to take? The fellow who’s the most skilled.”
A dilapidated house on Lower Loop Road rounded out Tuesday evening’s public meeting.
Council has concerns for public safety regarding the building and voted in favour of giving the owners of the structure 60 days to either repair or demolish the property. The council will move forward in contacting Newfoundland Power to cut the still running electricity to the home immediately.