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Town unveils budget for 2011-2012

Ashley Andyshak Hayes
News-Post Staff

(5/3) Mayor Jim Hoover presented his 2011-2012 budget proposal to commissioners Monday with no tax increase.

The $1.62 million budget is a 4 percent increase from the 2010-2011 budget. In the proposal, the property tax rate remains level at 36 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Major increases in the proposed budget include contracted police coverage with the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, as well as utility and fuel costs, Hoover said.

The cost for the town's three community deputies will increase nearly 9 percent to $356,000 in fiscal year 2012. Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said at a town meeting in November that the town should expect an increase of about $8,400 per deputy in the next fiscal year to cover additional post-retirement benefit costs for the deputies.

"(Citizens) have an unequivocal message that they do not want to see town service levels reduced further. They believe we should be doing more," Hoover wrote in a memo that accompanied the proposed budget.

Health insurance costs for employees have increased as well, even though the town's premiums have decreased because of a change in insurance carriers, he said. More employees have chosen to include family members on their health insurance plans, increasing the overall cost, he said.

The proposal includes a transfer of $87,000 from the town's fund balance account. Without this transfer, a tax increase would be necessary to balance the budget, Hoover wrote.

The budget does include a cost-of-living increase for town staff, who have not received such an increase for the past two budget years, Hoover said. He did not give a percentage for the increase but said it amounts to a total of $9,700.

"The proposed FY 2012 operating budget is balanced and reflects a continued commitment to foster steady, controlled growth while providing the highest level of service to the community possible within the town's fiscal constraints," Hoover wrote in his budget summary. "The town staff and I have worked successfully together to develop a balanced budget, mindful of not only our immediate needs, but of the future needs and ability to maintain, upgrade and improve the town's infrastructure."

Commissioners did not comment on the proposed budget Monday but will discuss the proposal at their May 16 meeting.

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