CAPE ST. GEORGE The Town of Cape St. George passed its first half-million-dollar budget earlier this month with a reduction in taxes for residents making them less than $15,000 per year.
‚ÄúOur already low taxes were reduced further for low-income people paying the poll tax, which is now only $120 per year if paid on time,‚ÄĚ Peter Fenwick, mayor of Cape St. George, said in a telephone interview.
He said Cape St. George is one of only a handful of Newfoundland towns with no property tax, with the Town of Lourdes being the only other with the same type of tax regime on the Port au Port Peninsula.
Under Cape St. George‚Äôs tax system, with the poll tax and water and waste fees inclusive, the total taxes average out to about $600 per household.
Fenwick believes the low tax strategy in the town is one of the factors that resulted in a six per cent increase in population as of the 2011 census.
This year‚Äôs tax cut was possible with an increase in support from the province when the municipal operating grant was finally adjusted to reflect the costs of services in Cape St. George and its remoteness from government services.
Fenwick said for the last 30 years an old formula meant support for towns like Cape St. George was way below that received by other towns. He said with the municipal operating grant increasing by about $100,000, the town is able to do a lot of things and not increase taxes.
‚ÄúThe long overdue correction is welcome,‚ÄĚ Fenwick said.
Plans for this year include an application for municipal funding to build a new and larger water reservoir (a project costing about $600,000), road construction and a start on a recreation complex.
The town will also increase its already considerable efforts to reduce waste going to the St. George‚Äôs landfill as the landfill will now charge by the tonne for waste received there.