Springdale brings down the budget

Rudy Norman
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Springdale's town council adopted its 2014 budget recently without much fan-fare or major changes, recently, keeping in line with previous years in most areas and line items.
Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Finance Committee, Dave Edison, says the town is still maintaining their award-winning financial management of the taxpayers' money, and are maintaining a healthy condition for the public purse in the municipality.

"We're in very good financial condition, probably as good as any town in the province our size," Edison said.

The town has been operating in the past number of years as one of the best-managed towns in the province, bringing home the Excellence in Governance award in 2010 at Municipalities NL's Torngat awards.

"We've had a great history of past councils really doing a great job at ensuring the town was in a healthy position," said Edison. "We're trying to keep that going."

2014's budget sees the town's revenue up slightly from last year, to $2.4 million dollars from $2.3 million dollars in 2013. Edison says that's due to some major development in the town.

"The increase is due to more residential and commercial development coming into our tax scheme, for the most part," said Edison. "We saw a significant increase in the number of permits we put out this year, and looking around town you can see that there's quite a bit of development still happening."

Edison says that the increase is present, even despite the tragedy that lost the Bank of Montreal and Home Hardware buildings early in the year. However, he says, the rebuilding of both businesses in the community is a great sight. Home Hardware is expected to open in the coming weeks, and BMO Bank of Montreal will open their new doors in March.

Residential housing is also on the rise, said the Deputy Mayor. Activity in the Riverwood area is still ongoing, as well as Noels Place, and a new development near Corporal S. Bouzane Boulevard is gearing up as well.

"That one could be huge for the town," explains Edison. "If some of those lots can start selling this year, then it's going to be great things for Springdale. All of this shows that the town is growing."

He also noted that Colemans has also cleared land in that same area, and are expected to construct a new store this year.

All of this, he said, is a large reason why the town invested in putting water and sewer to the area, and extending it to Davies Brook, encompassing the area.

"It's definitely going to be a lot easier for development out there now that the water and sewer is there," he said. However, with the new development in the water and sewer system, Edison says council felt that an increase in the service would be warranted.

"We really looked at our entire tax structure, and fees, taking into account everything from water and sewer, to permit fees, and such, and we tried to align ourselves with other municipalities in the province of similar size, and bring ourselves to where we needed to be to meet the needs."

Another key area the town is still looking at is the development of the waterfront and marina. Edison says the town has invested significant monies in this year's budget in the plans, and have submitted a proposal to Government for what he calls a 'substantial amount' of funding that would see the project, that been several years in the making, come to fruition.

"We're really in the financial position to borrow a large portion of money to get the job done," he said. "We're hoping Government will come back and approve our proposal on a 90/10 basis, and if so, this year there's going to be some great things happening in Springdale."

The town also has over $8 million dollars worth of infrastructure projects currently in the hands of the Provincial Government as part of their multi-year funding. Edison says those projects include finishing the water and sewer on Bayview Road, from Cedar Lane to the Fire Station. Updates are also being planned for Cherry Cresent and Batstones Road water and sewer system, as well as some road improvements.

Finally, this year, the town will be doing some work on the stadium, he says, upgrading the roof, siding, and getting some dehumidifiers - all in a hope to make the stadium run more efficiently.

Organizations: Bank of Montreal and Home Hardware, BMO Bank of Montreal, Fire Station

Geographic location: Springdale, Riverwood, Bayview Road Cedar Lane Cherry Cresent Batstones Road

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