At a special meeting held on Wednesday, July 8th, Town Council reviewed the 2019 budget. This year has been a challenging year with failing infrastructure in our water/sewer system and street repairs. In March a water main break that took some time and effort to locate and repair and a partial collapse of a sewer main on Rutland Avenue also had to be repaired. The total cost of repairs and maintenance to the system was approximately $315,000. The cost of these repairs had a major impact on our water/sewer reserves and needs to be replaced. We know that as our water/sewer system ages, we can expect more failures over time, and therefore, we need to take proactive measures to care for this system.
Our paving program also had two unexpected turns take place this year. The Gull Lake & District Recreation Complex parking lot had major failures and $200,000 of our street paving budget had to be reallocated to this project. The south end of Lake Avenue in front of the Recreation Complex was also failing so the decision was made to repair this section of the street as well. With the pavement repair on Rutland Avenue, the total cost of paving is approximately $367,000.
Our Rink Board does a tremendous job and has done a great deal to raise funds to make important upgrades and improvements. However, they are unable to raise all the funds needed to deal with the aging facility. Traditional Recreation Board grants provided by municipalities are not adequate to deal with major projects such as paving. More help from the town and surrounding municipalities is needed to assist with these large projects.
Cost of living adjustments (2.3%) have been made to the mill rate and base tax. With the extra investment in infrastructure, particularly pavement and water and sewer, the base tax for infrastructure will be increased by an additional $95.00. These adjustments will result in an average increase of $120 to $150 in taxes for 2019.
Town Council will be reviewing water/sewer rates at our next meeting to ensure future revenue is adequate to deal with maintenance and improvements over the next few years.