Every year, municipal councils go through the process of approving spending budgets for the community.
We have to present this financial plan to the community in a public hearing which gives the residents an opportunity to view the municipality’s spending objectives for the current budget year, identify any possible long-term commitments for future years, and ask questions in a public forum on items related to the budget. In our community we spend approximately $3.8 million to keep our community operating and also allow for funds to be placed in reserves for future projects and equipment or municipal needs for larger projects.
Currently in West St. Paul, with the tax dollars that are collected, we provide over 45 services to ratepayers to keep our community running by providing services, maintaining existing infrastructure and making new investments on new infrastructure as we grow.
When we speak with residents, we remind them that when you receive your tax statement in the mail, it has two important areas in determining the final total amount owed. We are responsible for collecting the education tax on behalf of the school board and province. We have no input in how this tax is determined or spent.
When you review your tax statement please ensure you recognize that in our community for the most part, we are serviced by two school division — Seven Oaks and Interlake. The amount of the total statement that is mailed out indicates that 60 per cent of these funds collected go to the school division.
The community of West St. Paul collects the remaining 40 per cent and those funds are used to operate our community and help with augmenting our reserves for the future.
Council has worked hard and strategically with our administration. In 2009 our reserves had been depleted to just over $685,000, but through prudent fiscal management we have replenished those reserves to $3.2 million, and by the end of this budget year we will be at $3.8 million in reserves for future projects and equipment.
Our road projects in the past four years have seen an investment of close to $1.65 million for new roadwork including paving, resurfacing and ongoing maintenance. We have invested close to $500,000 in renewing our parks and recreational areas. Drainage projects have seen an investment in the past four years of close to $400,000 in drainage projects. We continually strive to ensure we maintain and improve the level of service you have come to expect in our community.
Our community is becoming very well positioned for our future growth and with a community that has been identified by the last census as the second fastest growing in terms of residents in the capital region healthy reserves are a must have as a community.
Our mill rate is again one of the lowest in the region. As mayor and as a tax-paying resident I am very proud to report this information to our community.