GUYSBOROUGH – Tax rates in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) will remain unchanged this fiscal year, while community grants and the low-income tax threshold will increase.
At the regular monthly MODG council meeting on March 15, the 2023-2024 budget passed unanimously for the first time since the former Town of Canso joined the municipality in 2012. Residents, non-profit organizations and businesses alike will all find something to be happy about in this latest budget.
Tax rates in the MODG remain unchanged across the board: $0.77 per $100 of assessment for residential/resource property and $2.74 per $100 of assessment for commercial property. The tax rate for properties containing seasonal tourist businesses is set at $2.06 per $100 of assessment, while rates for District 8, the former Town of Canso, remain as follows: $1.5126 per $100 of assessment for residential/resource property and $1.3470 per $100 of assessment for commercial property.
Following the loss of revenue after the decommissioning of the Sable Offshore Energy Project, MODG decreased funding by half for community programming and community recreation facility grants. This year, those grants will see funding increase to original levels of $500 and $1000, respectively.
In addition to the above community grants, MODG announced the community care program which will provide grants to community groups. This year, that includes $5,000 to the Upper Big Tracadie Seniors Action Club Food Card Program, $10,000 for the Guysborough and Area Food Bank and monies for school breakfast programs at Chedabucto Education Centre/Guysborough Academy, $10,000; Fanning Education Centre/Canso Academy, $10,000 and St. Mary’s Education Centre/Academy, $3,500.
The MODG budget also included two major funding contributions: $200,000 to the Seven Communities Recreation Association for the construction of a new community centre in Hadleyville and $300,000 to the Mulgrave Road Theatre expansion project at the former NSLC location in Guysborough.
Given the state of inflation, MODG residents will appreciate the increase in the low-income tax threshold from $30,000 to $35,000 this year, with the rebate for eligible applicants up from $100 to $200.
Following the adjournment of council, The Journal asked MODG Warden Vernon Pitts how the municipality was footing the bill for a more generous budget when the latest Financial Conditions Indicator (FCI) report released by the province in January found the municipality’s tax base is experiencing negative growth.
“We’re paying that through our management of our existing finances as well as our investments; that’s paying for most of it. Our tax rates pay for very little. It’s our investments…if council remains, shall we say, smart enough to leave the investments, they’ll do what they’re supposed to do.
“As far as those numbers (in the FCI), my understanding, those numbers they weren’t compiled yesterday. They were compiled likely a couple of years ago. Things are picking up in the municipality,” said Pitts.
In other business, council voted in favour of naming a new street in the Cutler’s Brook Estates subdivision Miles Crescent in honour of the late Miles MacDonald, a former MODG councillor and retired school principal.
Pitts said of MacDonald, “On behalf of council, we certainly appreciate Miles and the contributions he made in the municipality as a whole and I’m certainly pleased that the municipality will be naming the new street up there (Cutler’s Brook) Miles Crescent in memory of Miles.”