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COUNCIL NOTES >>> BRIDGEWATER TOWN COUNCIL APPROVES 2021-2022 BUDGET

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✒ COUNCIL NOTES >>> BRIDGEWATER TOWN COUNCIL APPROVES 2021-2022 BUDGET

On April 12, Bridgewater Town Council formally concluded its 2021-2022 budget planning process by unanimously approving both the capital and operating budgets for the coming fiscal year. This budget is the first to be approved by the new Town Council that was elected in October of 2020.

The Town’s budgeted gross operating costs this year will amount to about $22.5 million. On the capital side of the ledger, Bridgewater’s gross capital expenditures are budgeted to total $14.2 million, making it the single largest one-year capital investment in the history of our community.

As part of budget approval, Council also endorsed its first residential tax rate increase in almost a decade. Council authorized a 10-cent residential tax rate increase, meaning the residential rate will move from $1.65 per $100 of assessment to $1.75 per $100 of assessment. The commercial tax rate will remain at $3.97 per $100 of assessment.

🎥 WATCH APPROVAL OF THE 2021-2022 BUDGET HERE: https://business.facebook.com/BridgewaterNS/videos/907821783371807/?t=4401

“The budget process is seldom easy, and our Council had to make some tough choices this year – including a tax rate increase for the first time in nine years,” said Mayor David Mitchell.

“What’s really important for our residents to remember is that we’re putting this money to work for them – it’s being used to improve our community, to position Bridgewater to grow over the next decade, and to continue providing a high level of service to our residents in everything we do, from parks to culture and recreation programs to transit.”

BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

-- Residential tax rate increase of 10 cents per $100 of assessment to $1.75.

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No commercial tax rate increase – rate remains at $3.97 per $100 of assessment.

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The commitment of more than $14 million in capital projects this year includes:
- $5.6 million in wastewater infrastructure upgrades to modernize our collection and treatment system
- $4.7 million total in road upgrades and infrastructure related projects, including more than $700,000 in pavement renewal projects throughout Bridgewater
- $3.2 million in new infrastructure for Exit 12A and the Bridgewater Business Park expansion
- $200,000 for sidewalk improvements

-- The Town’s commitment to core services and strategic priorities remains strong, including allocations for Fire Protection ($1.4 million), Bridgewater Police Service ($3.9 million net), REMO ($24,345) and other core services, such as Bridgewater Transit and Energize Bridgewater’s emerging program to reduce energy poverty in our community.

-- Council will also be investing in a land sales and marketing strategy for Town-owned land in the Bridgewater Business Park; an allotment of $115,000 has been earmarked for needed repairs to the roof and walls at the former Bridgewater Memorial Arena, while completing Transit/Parks staff space on site; and more than $129,000 has been earmarked to support local non-profit organizations through grants and tax exempt status.

“Our tax rate is still among the average rates for Nova Scotian towns of our size, but it’s never a joy when you have to broach the idea of an increase,” Mayor Mitchell said. “But, after holding the line for so many years, Council was unanimous in its agreement that the time has come for us to earnestly begin investing in the future and ensuring that our community can continue to thrive and prosper.”

The 2021-2022 budget, he noted, is fundamentally focused investing in growth and paving the way for sustainable economic development over the next decade.

“At the same time, we’re committing significant capital resources to our wastewater system and taking real, meaningful steps along the path toward having a clean LaHave River. It’s a long-term project – it’s going to take time to get to where we all want the river to be. It’s important to understand that modernizing our wastewater system isn’t solely about helping the environment,” he added.

“That work also has a long-term positive economic impact, as it will accommodate future housing and development and ensure our community can meet our growth needs as Bridgewater continues to blossom.”

📣 MORE FROM THE MAYOR ON BUDGET 2021-22 HERE: https://www.facebook.com/mayordavidmitchell