Editor’s note: The following article was changed from the printed version to correct the commercial rate which is $2.10 per $100 of assessment.

ARICHAT: The Municipality of the County of Richmond approved its 2019-2020 budget during a special meeting last week.

On June 3 in Arichat, council voted to maintain its residential tax rate at 80 cents per $100 of assessment, while the commercial rate holds steady at $2.10 per $100 of assessment.

While tax revenue dropped from $11,068,396 in 2018-2019 to $10,826,811 this budget, grants in lieu of taxes increased by $76,994. Among the revenue generators was a hike in Attorney General fines by $23,000 and $55,000 from interest on investments. As well recycling revenue climbed by $8,000.

Among the highlights of the $13,979,796 budget is an increase from last year’s budget of $15,000 in group insurance and a hike in the general administrative pension plan from $613,000 to $882,000. The janitorial contract for building maintenance went up from $63,224 to $82,168, while office insurance rose by $12,000. Prosecution costs went from $8,100 to $25,000. Fire protection levies rose by $49,000, while the fire services contract went from $25,000 to $108,000. Garbage and waste collections increased by $30,000.

As for expenses that decreased, legal services dropped by $40,000 while recreation and cultural service costs went down, as did public health and welfare services, as well as federal government services. There was a significant decrease in economic development services which dropped from $708,638 to $518,594. Under general expenses, there was a drop from $59,500 in the 2018-2019 budget to $18,000 this time around. Caped assessments fell by $66,626. The costs for courthouse maintenance fell from $20,600 in the 2018-2019 budget to $1,956.

As a result of a new municipal grant policy, the type 2 activity grant fund and type 1 infrastructure grant fund were both eliminated at a savings of $127,500. The type 4 regional/health general grants went down from $250,000 to $189,205 and environmental development services decreased by $190,044.

The budget can be viewed on Richmond County’s Web site at: www.richmondcounty.ca.