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Inverness County Council Adopts Budget

Inverness County has maintained tax rates.

During yesterday’s regular monthly meeting, Inverness Municipal Council approved a residential tax rate of $1.05 per $100 of assessment, a commercial rate of $1.91, a resource rate of $1.05 and a Forest Property Tax Rate of $0.25 per acre.

To balance the budget, the municipality is using $374,000 from the previous year’s surplus, finance director Tanya Tibbo said.

She said 85 per cent of the revenue generated by the municipality is from property taxes, which gives little room to generate more revenue.

Tibbo told council “several” budget meeting were held over the last two months, they’ve met with organizations about their funding requests, and staff has reviewed past budgets.

The total general operating budget is just over $19 million, and Tibbo says highlights include several staff additions like a bylaw enforcement officer, an accessibility coordinator, an engineer, a seniors’ advocate, as well as part-time employees on contract.

There is more money for volunteer departments, Tibbo explained and the emergency measures budget was increased by $60,000. A $15,000 annual operating grant for the Gaelic College was added.

The municipality reinstated Deferred Community Development Grants, to allow additional funding within districts for community groups.

There will be grants provided to hospitals in Chéticamp and Inverness again this year.

There is an allocation for smaller capital projects or purchases, such as new sewer services, or smaller tools and equipment.

Under services provided to other governments, there was an increase in revenue.

Protective services, which entails fire department operating grants and emergency measures grants have increased, Tibbo noted.

Recreation and cultural services, also increased to $1,050,000 this year from $920,900 the previous year, she noted.

Mandatory contributions – which involve six payments to six entities including the RCMP ($2,737,400) and SAERC ($3,490,000) – increased from $6.9 million last year to $7,116,100.

Environmental health services, including solid waste management, the transfer station, recycling facility and wastewater services went up from $920,900 last year to $1,190,650.

Tibbo also told council that wastewater area rates have increased due to increased maintenance requirements. She said the wastewater utility recorded a deficit of $182,323.

That was later offset by a contribution of $56,445.15 from Gas Tax Funds to 2021 water capital operating expenses.