Oxford Approves Budget with Modest Tax Hike
Oxford Town Council approved a 2.5 million dollar budget and a modest tax increase in a special meeting tonight.
Council was unanimous in approving the $2,534,028 expenditure. The vote follows weeks of preparation and hours of discussion. Tonight was just the fine-tuning and final vote.
Throughout the process, the council struggled to hold the current tax rate, but that task was made more difficult as the town’s assessment declined a little from last year.
The residential rate is now 1.6824 per one hundred dollars of assessment while the commercial rate rises to 4.1557. With the reduction in assessment, the net increase is 3 ½ cents. Councillor Wade Adshade says the average homeowner will pay about $25 to $30 more this year.
The Wild Blueberry Capital of Canada had a small surplus of about $57,000 from last year's operation. Council considered applying it to this year’s expenditures in an effort to avoid raising taxes. But, the province suggests the town should build a reserve to about 500 thousand as a serious rainy-day fund.
The Chief Administrative Officer suggested the town could take half the surplus to offset some of this year’s costs, putting the other half into the town's reserve. Rachel Jones told council that the town is on course for a few good years to come when they can build the required reserve.
Jones also noted the province suggests Oxford has the capacity to raise taxes as the town rates are easily within the provincial average.
Mayor Trish Stewart polled the council prior to the vote. Councillor Brenton Colborne said, “We don’t have much of a choice.” Dawn Thompson said, “We have to do it.” Dave Clark, Rick Draper, Wendy Sweet-Kontuk, and Wade Adshade agreed.
Taxes are due by September 30th. Beyond that date, interest of 1.5% will be charged monthly on overdue accounts.
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