City taxpayers will see a 3.5 per cent increase in taxes, or a hike of $40 on the base tax applied to all single-family homes and condos, after council passed their 2014 operating budget on Monday evening.
Jon Michaud, director of finance, did a breakdown of the budget for council which sees a total increase in spending of some six per cent.
The base tax is applied to 3,318 single-family dwellings and 509 condos, or a total of 3,827 properties which will see an increase on the base tax from $550 to $590.
The base tax pays for three essential services, said Michaud; police services will see an increase of 4.8 per cent, fire services will go up 6.9 per cent, and snow removal will go up 12 per cent to $337,800.
Some of the factors going into the 2014 budget include that the Municipal Operating grant from the province is declining by 2.9 per cent or by $65,000. Last year, by comparison, Weyburn saw an increase of 14.2 per cent or just under $650,000 more from the province.
In addition, the city saw a decrease in interest of $200,000, and an increase in salaries in all departments of four per cent. There will be an increase in information technology costs of $9,000, and the fund for recruiting new doctors will cost the city $25,000.
Almost all departments will see an increase, except engineering. Police will see a 4.8-per-cent increase; the Fire Department will see an increase of 6.9 per cent; Leisure Services will see an overall increase of 5.4 per cent; engineering will decline by 11.9 per cent; and public works and parks will see salaries increase four per cent; pavement repairs will cost $200,000; plans for a storm sewer for 18th Street and Douglas Road, $60,000; and snow removal will cost about $340,000, and $10,000 is being put aside for new playground equipment at Elks Park playground, as the older equipment there was damaged in a fire; this is slated for completion in 2015.
Facilities will get funds for repairs and maintenance, including $61,000 at City Hall to replace light fixtures, improve surveillance at the entrance to City Hall and for a backup generator; $38,000 for the police station, $71,000 for the fire hall and public works shop, and $400,000 for leisure facilities, of which the bulk is going to the Leisure Centre to replace the boilers.
“We all know that budgets are never easy. We do rely on administration, and we gave administration the mandate to come back at three per cent,” said Mayor Debra Button. “I’ve been through the budget, and we’re maintaining services at the level they are at.”
The mayor added that the hospital levy (which adds another $140 to all tax bills) is also on the bill because Weyburn wants a new acute-care hospital, and the municipality is mandated to raise 20 per cent locally towards the overall cost of the new facility.
In the month of February, the City issued eight building permits worth a total of $1.3 million.
Of these permits, one was for a commercial addition worth $24,000; two were for new mobile homes with a construction value of $460,000; three were for residential additions with a construction value of $95,000; and two were for single-family dwellings with a construction value of $744,000.
For the year-to-date, Weyburn’s building department has issued 15 building permits worth a total of $3,592,000. The year-to-date from a year ago saw the city issue 12 building permits worth $9,011,250.
So far in 2014, there have been six single-family dwelling units created, worth a total of $2,154,000, almost double the value of last year when there were four dwelling units created worth $1,356,250.