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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Questioning the council

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I would like to comment on the newsletter that was sent to all homeowners from the Town of Stephenville Crossing dated Jan. 20.

Council brought down the 2019 Budget at the regular meeting of council held on Dec. 12, 2018 with expenditures in the amount of $1,757,873.32 and this is a balanced budget.

All towns have to have a balanced budget. The mill rate remains at 6.5 mills of assessed property value “but” there will be an increase in the following in 2019: residential water and sewer an increase of $42 a year per unit; commercial water and sewer an increase of $50 a year per unit; government buildings will increase to $5,000 per unit.

In 2018, government buildings were $3,200 per unit, is an increase of $2,200 from 2018. This is a big increase for government buildings and St. Michael’s School is charged a flat rate of $5,000 for water and sewer, as well — “no wonder our college is closing in Stephenville Crossing.”

Minimum property increases by $100 per unit and the Local Service Districts will see an increase in fire protection of $10 per unit. In 2018 it was $40 per household and now it will be $50 per household.

Take note to this — council has implemented new fee structures for 2019. After-hours water shutoff will be $75 and borrowing of the sewer snake will be $20.

This is only another tax grab for our council. This sewer snake was paid for by the taxpayers of Stephenville Crossing.

To charge $75 after hours if you have trouble at your home to shut off the main valve going to your home is an insult to the taxpayers of Stephenville Crossing. This is the town’s responsibility. This is why we pay town taxes.

Council also put up the Poll Tax to $400 from $300 in 2018. The Poll Tax is for persons who do not own any property in the town. You take all the people that fall in this category and who are only working part-time and getting minimum wage — they cannot afford this.

There are more tax increases for 2019.

Here they are:  

In 2018 minimum property tax was $300 per year and now it is $400 per year.

Water and sewer taxes for residential was $408 per unit in 2018 and now in 2019 it is $650 per unit.

Also, any account not paid in full by the date of the on the cut-off notice is subject to a $75 penalty. In 2018 the fee was $50 — another tax grab by our council.

In the new letter also, council stated it has been able to “reduce the town’s debt to zero.”

We all know that we have to pay taxes, but when they say we are debt free, council could have lowered the mill rate. Our property assessments went up this year and council put up every tax in the book.

What is really upsetting to the taxpayers of Stephenville Crossing is in the newsletter under Parks & Recreation. In 2019 council will be installing a dog park at the end of West Street. In other words, down at our ballfield. We have no recreation for our kids in the summertime when they get out of school at our ballfield.

This council could have lowered out taxes. Just about every other community their council lowered the mill rate or had no tax increases. The ballfield at the end of West Street had the lights left on all summer and winter long burning power for nothing and the taxpayers of Stephenville Crossing are paying for it. Residents cannot even get a street light for the road which is needed especially for seniors who are alone.

Dave Kane,

Stephenville Crossing

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