The Town of Oromocto Council passed its 2021 General Operating and Water and Sewer Utility Budgets on Thursday, 12 November 2020. The budget priorities identified were two-fold: (1) eliminate the garbage service fee and fund by increasing the tax rate and (2) hold rates steady for water consumption rates and commence a five-year, phased-in fixed service fee per quarter.
General Operating Budget Distribution
Council has approved a balanced budget for 2021. The General Operating Budget for 2021 is established at $19,316,607 an increase of 2.8% from the 2020 budget. The 2021 property tax mill rate will increase by 3 cents to $1.4151.
This operating budget enables the Town of Oromocto to maintain its current service levels, while addressing increased operating pressures including increases in garbage tipping fees, garbage collection, and insurance costs. The budget also forecasts and mitigates reduction in planned revenues as per existing COVID-19 impacts.
2021 General Operating Fund Expenditures
Public Safety 35%
Infrastructure Services 23%
Governance, Planning and Development 22%
Recreation and Culture 10%
Debt Servicing 5%
Capital Pay-As-You Go 5%
In addition, the annual garbage collection fee of $80 will now be included in the overall tax rate. This was important to the community as many citizens were frustrated with having to pay what they saw as an “extra billing” and is confusing for new residents. The garbage collection fee was not sustainable as it did not actually cover the costs for garbage collection service.
Capital Budget(s) Distribution
Capital spending for 2021 totals $3.2 million which includes re-tendering the visitor information centre and infrastructure improvements and fleet replacement expenditures.
Some of the major items include:
Water and Sewer Utility Budget:
The Town of Oromocto and Base Gagetown share a longstanding and unique partnership. One element of this partnership is that the Base Gagetown Water Treatment Plant and Wastewater Treatment Plant have been serving the Base and the Town since 1963 and 1954, respectively. In essence, the Base is the Town’s water supplier. Water and sewerage costs to the Town have significantly increased in the past five years (50% for water and 67% for sewerage). The other cost driver is the maintenance costs of the distribution system, operated by the Town, which have doubled in five years. The current billing system was simply no longer sustainable.
In order to offset these rising costs, the Town will be introducing a new fixed service fee in 2021. This service fee practice aligns with other jurisdictions to address the costs of maintaining, servicing and renewing the Town’s water and sewerage infrastructure. This quarterly fee is also being implemented to invoice customers appropriately for the costs of the water and sewerage systems, and will help to reduce rate volatility. Therefore, a quarterly fixed service fee of $30 will be phased in over 5 years. This year’s fee has been approved for 2021 at $6 per quarter. Each subsequent year the fee will be reviewed during Council’s budgeting process and moving to the next phase will require Council’s approval.
The water consumption rates will remain unchanged in 2021.
4 Doyle Drive, Oromocto NB E2V 2V3