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Deer Lake could see a slight tax increase in 2018

Dean Ball.
Dean Ball. - The Western Star

There won’t be any big surprises when Deer Lake brings down its 2018 budget next month, but there could be a slight tax increase.

On Friday Mayor Dean Ball said his council is close to a balanced budget, and while they are trying to achieve it without a tax increase, that may not be possible.

After looking at the situation on Thursday night, he said to get everything on the table it was looking like an increase.

“But it’s quite possible it’s either going to be smaller than half a mill or not at all.”

Ball said the town needs to spend money on infrastructure. It’s done a lot with water and sewer over the last two years and still has some asbestos line in the ground that it needs to remove.

Fourth Avenue will be in the budget to follow up on. The project was approved for this year but with time restraints will be pushed into 2018.

It will also be looking for some capital money, something it hadn’t seen much of in recent years, to help complete the work that’s needed.

“We were 10 years behind on capital works, roads and water and sewer,” said Ball, adding “we’ve had very little money to put into water and sewer projects.”

The work it did do, including a $2.5-million upgrade to Nicholsville Road, was self-funded. Had the town gotten capital funding its cost would have been just 20 per cent of that. But the work had to be done, Ball said.

“We were spending a hundred grand a year just to service the road when it comes to potholes. You just couldn’t keep throwing good money after bad.”

Ball said the town is also looking at putting more money into its walking trails.

With four new members on the council, Ball said the budget process is taking a bit more time, but the discussions and questions arising are good.

Council will meet to go over the latest draft of the budget on Monday and Ball hopes it will be ready to bring down on Dec. 4 or 11.

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