Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pelham's Good News Budget

You would not have heard much fanfare about it had you been at our Town Council meeting last week. And, yet, it was very important for you and for all property tax payers in Pelham.

You see, Council officially approved our 2009 Operating Budget.

From the start, our budget working group gave direction to ensure minimal impact on you and other property tax-payers without decreasing the current level and quality of services.

In essence, we said find efficiencies, find ways to work smarter, and stay focused on service to the community. I am pleased to let you know that the budget does just that.

In addition, Town staff continues to look at all work processes and to seek opportunities to reduce costs through the use of new technology, procedural improvements, and/or alternative sources of revenue.

Overall, these initiatives allowed the Treasurer to suggest a minimal general tax levy increase of $282,025 (on a $10 million budget) or 2.62% BEFORE adjusting for real assessment growth. Real assessment growth in 2008 – from new businesses, new homes, or improvements to existing properties – was $164,383. (This growth has nothing to do with MPAC’s changes in market value assessment of existing properties.)

Once growth is removed, the net effect on the tax levy will be $117,642 or an increase of 1.48% on the Town of Pelham portion of your 2009 property tax bill.

What does that mean for your pocket book, you ask?

Well, the average residential property value for 2009 is expected to be $248,583. If your home and property were assessed at that value, you would be paying only an additional $23 or a total of $1,218 on the Pelham portion of your property bill. This year’s average increase is less than half of last year’s $54 average increase.

You can see that Council and staff have taken global economic situation very seriously.

In fact, I am pleased to tell you about a conversation our Treasurer recently had with the Treasures of the other 11 Cities, Towns, and Townships across the Region. While most have not yet completed their budgets, given the discussions other Council’s, it looks like our increase will be the lowest in the entire Region. That’s good news for you, isn’t it?

If you would like additional information about the 2009 budget, please download the budget presentation from the Town’s website at or watch it on Cogeco on Wednesday, March 18.