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Town Finalizes Budget

Jeremy Hauck
The Gazette

(5/24) Emmitsburg commissioners found a use for more than half of the unallocated $20,295 in the town’s fiscal 2008 budget at Monday’s regular meeting.

line item in the budget Mayor James E. Hoover presented May 6 incorrectly listed the expected revenue from parking meters as $2,255.

‘‘It should have been $22,550," Mayor James E. Hoover said. ‘‘The zero was left off, meaning a net increase of $20,295 is in the budget."

From June 2006 to March 2007, the town took in more than $17,000 in parking meter revenue. Hoover said at the meeting that the extra funds ‘‘need to be allocated in some form or fashion." Emmitsburg’s town charter requires that revenue and expenditures be balanced.

‘‘Since the budget was already presented to this board, it is this board’s budget at this point," he said.

Calling the extra money a ‘‘honey pot," Commission President Christopher V. Staiger allowed commissioners, in order of seniority on the board, to make motions on how to spend the money.

By the end of the budget discussion, commissioners had added line items totaling $12,443 to the budget, leaving $7,852 of the unallocated money still on the table.

The extra money went into the budget for repairs to the public swimming pool, according to Pat Feeser, town spokeswoman.

Commissioners are scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on the budget June 4.

The proposed property tax rate for fiscal 2008 is 36 cents per $100 of assessed value, the same as the current year. Constant yield — the rate the town would have to charge to bring in the same amount of money next year as this year — is 33.2 cents.

During the Monday meeting, parks and recreation committee member Patrick Joy asked the board to consider funding playground equipment for a tot lot at the Emmit Gardens development.

‘‘There should be something over there," Joy said. ‘‘If not a big play area, at least a little something. There is nothing for them over there."

Commissioners allocated $7,500 to make a playground in the development, but Town Manager Dave Haller warned them that the low-lying area is prone to floods.

‘‘Whenever the pumps can’t keep up, there will be a spill there," Haller said.

Commissioners also allocated $2,443 of the extra money ‘‘to support the purchase of a technology cart" for Emmitsburg Elementary School, Staiger said, after reading aloud a letter from the school’s PTA.

The cart will include a laptop computer, projector and digital camera, Staiger said.

Commissioners allocated $2,500 for beautification along Md. Rte. 140 where the highway enters Emmitsburg.

From the $20,000 allocated for new playground equipment, commissioners allotted $1,000 to buying two new benches for Memorial Park and $5,000 for repairs to fences used by the Emmitsburg Baseball and Softball League.

‘‘This is a process that we would like to move forward with," Staiger said, referring to the repairs.

On a separate agenda item, commissioners approved raising the town’s impact fee, which a developer pays when building a new house to offset the cost of services the town provides. The town’s impact fee was raised from $1,200 to $3,200.

The move ‘‘will give additional funds for our parks or our sidewalks," Hoover said, adding that the increase was in response to ‘‘the general escalation of costs in town.

Hoover said the increase in the impact fee would lead to ‘‘probably a $40,000 to $60,000 annual increase in monies that can be spent in the [capital improvements program] portion of the budget."

. New Items in Fiscal 2008 Budget

  • Technology cart for Emmitsburg Elementary
  • Tot lot equipment for Emmit Gardens
  • Beautification for Taneytown Pike entrance to town
  • Two new benches for Memorial Park
  • Softball field fence repair

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