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Council Recap: 20 December 2022

Well, I have certainly felt the weight of being a Town Councillor these past few weeks and months. We started the 2023 budget process just after labour day and the fact we are motioning to pass it this evening on December 20 is a testament for how difficult this process was to us as Council. I don’t think many of us here are happy to be presenting this type of budget. All of us here are residents and we all understand the difficult time this year has been with inflation and interest rates. Ultimately, our guiding principal throughout the budget process is to try and not negatively contribute to the cost of living of our residents. There are many things I would have liked to see the Town lead in 2023 and in order for those things to happen, we would have needed to increase our mil rate much higher. A 0.15 residential mil rate increase brings us to 7.3, which leaves Conception Bay South among the lowest residential mil rate on the Northeast Avalon. Council prioritized the cost of living for residents over the delivery of new services.

Beyond that, though, I do believe that this budget presents opportunities for us as a Town and for us as residents. We continue to make our community our preferred place to live. The Town will continue to waive all residential permit fees for extensions, decks, general repairs and accessory buildings. We know this is important to many residents, and it will help reduce barriers for residents completing home renovations and help the Town ensure properties are compliant. We will continue to explore the process for developing a new regional community centre, and we are also exploring the feasibility of a public transit pilot project in Conception Bay South, with public engagement on both of these fronts expected to happen in 2023.

Finally, the need to diversify our economy and revenues remain pivotal. Council is committed to continuing our work on economic development next year, with some news we hope to announce very early in the New Year. Conception Bay South is rich with natural assets, and we will be exploring ways to optimizing these opportunities for revenue generation through sectors such as renewable energy in the next year.

So, it has been a difficult process, but I have voted in support of the 2023 Budget.

Until next time,

Josh Barrett

Councillor At-Large

Conception Bay South

Consider the postage stamp: Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing 'til it gets there. - Josh Billings

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