Dorchester sees Tax Rate Increases

Dorchester Sees Tax Rate Increases

Published Jan Wednesday 19, 2011
Times and Transcript

by Meg Edwards

The budget from Dorchester this January could be a sign of hard times ahead. Council made cuts across the board and increased the tax rate to 1.5255 per $100 dollar of assessment this year, an increase of 2.63 %. The rates for water and sewer increased as well, with a warrant to be raised of $589, 865.
“We have been making cuts each year in order to maintain the tax rate, but it had to catch up to us eventually, and this year we had nowhere to go but to increase the rate”, said Melvin Goodland, Mayor of Dorchester . Last year the village had a surplus of almost $30,000, a cushion that protected the tax rate that was not available this year.
Simonne Malenfant, Clerk/Treasurer for Dorchester, says that the budgeting is getting more difficult, with the RCMP costs” going up again”, as well as general costs going up and “downloads from the government becoming more frequent”.
With decreases in revenue, and in the Unconditional Grant, the council had to make cuts to all services, with some of the largest cuts to the council itself.
Fire Chief Greg Partridge expressed his disappointment with the $7000 cut from the voluntary fire department’s budget, saying that “We are an essential service, just like the police”. Mayor Goodland said that council did the best that they could with what they had, and Councilor Kim McLeod added that “Everybody suffered this year except policing, and we have no control over that”.
Even though the tax base did rise for Dorchester, Mayor Goodland said that the village does not see any benefit from that, because “We balance their (the Federal Government’s) budget at our own expense”.
Danny Pellerin from Enterprise South East made a presentation to council regarding the success and growth of the Cultural Coast project, a tourism incentive that encourages networking and cross advertising among artisans in New Brunswick with pamphlets and maps that identify artists’ studios, a web portal, and electronic ‘smart boards’ being placed at Visitor Information Centers to promote the “Artisan Routes’ and create “accidental tourism”.
Council also discussed a request from the town of Sackville to participate in an upgrade to the graveled section of Walker Road, between the Trans-Canada Highway and the Sackville and Dorchester boundary.
Mayor Goodland said the arrival of the request was timely as he has recently suggested to Mayor Estabrooks of Sackville that they make a change to their boundaries so that the small part of the unpaved road that is designated as part of Sackville could be re-designated as provincial, allowing Dorchester to have an official entrance off the highway. However, Mayor Goodland made it clear that Dorchester could not afford to make any financial contribution to the project.
In other news:
The News Year Levy and Polar Dip was “very well attended, by far the highest number of people we have ever had”, said Mayor Goodland, with more people participating in the icy polar dip as well.
Fire Chief Partridge reported on a “tire fire’ that consisted of ten to fifteen tires that had been piled in the center of town and set on fire on Saturday night. Chief Partridge thought that the tires had been driven into town by people outside of the village, who dispersed as soon as the police arrived. The heat of the fire melted the pavement in the center of town.

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