Witless Bay hears back on exemption request

·1 min read

The Town of Witless Bay has received conditional approval to a request for an exemption from having to use Own Source Revenue requirements for 2021.

The Town had asked the provincial government to waive the Own Source Revenue requirement, which forces towns to charge their residents a certain minimum of municipal taxes based on their populations. In the case of Witless Bay and neighbouring Bay Bulls, the rule forced the two towns to actually hike their taxes last year despite the objections of the local councils.

“We have received a correspondence from the minister indicating that they’re prepared to waive the Own Source Revenue requirements for 2021, but it’s a conditional approval,” said CAO Pat Curran during the public meeting of January 19.

Government asked witless Bay to identify what its 2022 budget requirements will look like by March 30, 2021. Curran felt that it was premature to identify those requirements in advanced of revised assessments, which usually aren’t released until the summer, as well as preliminary 2021 census data that could impact the population figures, which would figure into the Own Source revenue calculations.

Curran recommended council acknowledge the letter and draft a response, although the matter was not put to a motion and voted on.

During the budget presentation in December, council maintained that it held tax rates steady on the expectation that government would approve the request.

Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News