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Mayor proposes $1.7-million budget

James Rada
Emmitsburg Dispatch

(5/17) The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners got their first look at Mayor James Hoover’s $1,648,100 proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2008.

“There’s not anything really outstanding in this budget from year to year,” Hoover told the commissioners.

The budget is based on the current tax rate of 36 cents per $100 of assessed value. The $1.7 million operating budget is 9.4 percent larger or $143,087 more than the current operating budget.

“That increase in the money is from numerous places,” Commission President Chris Staiger noted.

Property tax collections are estimated at 7 percent more comparing this year’s budget to next year’s, but comparing next year’s budget to what has been collected this year shows only a neglible increase.

The town is expecting about $31,000 more or a 17.2 percent increase in tax equity money from Frederick County. This is money that county government gives to the town government to reimburse the town for services the county provides that duplicate services offered by the town.

On the negative side of revenues, the budget shows nearly two-thirds less in parking meter fees and parking fines. The budgeted amounts drop from $55,000 combined to $19,811. When The Dispatch asked Hoover about the large decrease, it was discovered that a typo in the line item for parking meter fees shortchanged the town about $20,295.

“That means we’ve got $20,000 more to spend somewhere else,” Hoover said.

As far as where the money will be spent, the street department will see a nearly two-thirds increase jumping from $201,178 this year to $330,718 for next year.

However, parks, recreation and culture will see an 11.7 percent drop from $188,993 to $166,792. Planning and zoning will also see a 37.8 percent drop from $162,262 to $100,957.

“Now it’s this board’s budget to look at, discuss it and at a future meeting vote on it,” Hoover said. “The bottom line is that the bottom line has to stay balanced.”

The commissioners also got a look at the proposed $729,219 capital improvement program. The items in this budget are for one-time purchases for large equipment and land or for the materials to maintain those items.

“You’ll see a $60,000 revenue increase related to an increase in the impact fees,” Hoover said.

The town currently receives $1,200 in impact fees for each dwelling unit built in town. Hoover proposed to increase that number to $3,200 per unit. With the increase, the town expects to receive $96,000 in impact fees next year. Among the new projects included in the list is a Silo Hill Road median and streetlights along South Seton. It also includes money for the community pool, sidewalk/tree replacement and street repaving.

The commissioners will begin discussing the budget at the May 21 town meeting and the approved budget will take affect beginning July 1.

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