Council Approves 2024-25 Budget and 5-Year Capital Investment Plan

Municipal Council’s approval of the 2024-2025 operating budget and 5-Year Capital Investment Plan means big projects, big improvements, and ambitious goals.

“Council has given serious and extensive consideration to the budget process,” said Warden Alex Morrison. “We (Council) have drafted a budget that is ambitious and positive in approach, and one that plans for the well-being of our citizens.”

The county-wide base tax rate will remain at $1.025 for residential and resources properties per $100 of assessment, and $1.80 per $100 of assessment for commercial properties. However, Bridgetown’s community rates will see an increase of 5.36 cents to 45.31 cents for residential and resource per $100 of assessment, and an increase of 8.99 cents to 74.13 cents for commercial per $100 of assessment.

This increase allows for specific services to Bridgetown, such as former Bridgetown debt payments, increases in road and street maintenance costs, as well as an additional $47,000 directly to Bridgetown Fire Department.

The 5-Year Capital Investment Plan focuses on municipal infrastructure with upgrades and extensions of water and sewer services in Lequille, Bridgetown, and Bear River.  These are the initial year-one capital investments, which will be followed up in years two-five with more capital infrastructure investments planned for communities in both the east and west ends.

“Our capital plan is positive and aggressive,” noted Morrison. “But not being positive and aggressive would see our communities fall behind. We need to plan for community growth.”

A few highlighted items in the plan are - the installation of more generators at wastewater treatment plants, improvements to community recreation facilities through accessible trail development in Upper Clements and accessible playground improvements in Nictaux, and in year two, a major upgrade to Granville Ferry Water Tower to ensure the long-term sustainability of potable water to Granville Ferry, Annapolis Royal and Lequille.

The biggest capital item in the 5-year plan is the construction of a new $40 million recreation complex in 2027-2028 to replace current aging facilities and to create a modern facility for families to enjoy multiple ways to continue to be active. 

In regard to the operating budget, communities can expect more services and programs.

“We understand that property assessments have increased, and costs have increased. As a municipality, we too have been affected by rising costs which we see in our purchasing and tendering for capital projects that are sometime coming in double what we have budgeted.”

“Council has done their best to balance the continuing inflationary costs, while ensuring that county growth was supported and managed wisely and strategically, added Morrison. “Council feels this budget reflects a balance of managing growth while limiting financial impacts on our communities to small amounts.”

Morrison explained that many of the larger financial costs are outside of the Municipality’s ability to control such as items mandated by the province like education and policing service; however, in addition to the non-discretional spending, Council was able to make investments in 2024-2025.

A detailed look at the 2024-25 budget will be available on the County website in the coming weeks.

“Council appreciates the support and encouragement received from community members,” said Morrison. “Through citizens’ trust, Council can build quality infrastructure and programs for our most vulnerable and support our next generation of community leaders: our youth.”

“Thank you to all members of Council and staff for their willingness to come together and make sacrifices to achieve a balanced budget and support significant capital investments to grow Annapolis County in the years ahead.”