Water, sewer fees will increase

First Posted: 6/3/2009

RED SPRINGS The town Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a new spending plan for the next fiscal year that keeps the lid on the tax rate.
The board unanimously adopted a $3.5 million budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.
With the help of interim Town Manger Craig Meadows, the board settled on a budget of $3,507,349, an increase of $191,919 over the current budget of $3,315,430.
The budget keeps the towns tax rate of 62 cents per $100 valuation of property, which is expected to generate $1,040,550 during the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Most fees and charges are unchanged, however, the towns water and sewer rates are increasing. This move is necessary for the town to be eligible for state grant money for improvements to its wastewater treatment plant.
In order to qualify for that money, municipalities have to have water and sewer rates at a certain level … and ours were a good bit below, Finance Director Kathy Pittman said.
Water rates are increasing 4.65 percent, and sewer rates 20 percent.
The commissioners were able to get a balanced budget in part by holding the line on expenses, awarding no pay raises, and leaving some vacant job posts empty for now.
Were in a hiring freeze, Mayor George Paris said, until we can see better where we are financially.
Paris said no one in the town government will be laid off.
We have some vacancies were not going to fill but we will strive to provide the same level of service, he said.
Of the $3.5 million budget, $539,056 will be spent on general government, $385,500 on transportation, $1,309,348 on public safety, $307,446 on cultural and recreational programs, $435,749 for debt service, and $530,250 for environmental protection.
Paris said hes hopeful the town can get through the next fiscal year without a financial catastrophe.
We depend on state revenue too, and there are some gray areas there, he said. Were crossing our fingers and hoping we have no major breakdowns.
Meadows said he streamlined the general fund budget and put it into a different and easy-to-understand format.
Commissioner Eula C. McNeill praised the work of Meadows, and said, I like the simplicity of it.
Commissioner John McNeill was absent from the meeting.
In other action Tuesday, the commissioners:
Learned from Police Chief Troy McDuffie that $19,741 in federal stimulus money made available to the Police Department will be used to purchase two used motor vehicles for detectives to use. They will replace high-mileage cars that need frequent repair work.
Appointed the following people to the Historical Commission: W.D. “Billy” McPaul, Alton Pittman, Eleanor Fields, Marshall McDonald, David Shook and Kathy McGirt.
Referred to the Planning Board a request from Audra Harris, of 406 E. Second Ave., to lift the towns 23-year ban on chickens because she wants fresh eggs and compost.

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