(5/7) The Board of Commissioners is considering a proposed budget and tax rate for 2014 almost identical to this year’s.
Mayor Donald Briggs presented a $1.6 million general fund budget Monday that changes little from this year and assumes keeping the property tax rate at 36.5 cents per $100 assessed value. That rate was recommended by Dave Haller, town administrator, even though the assessable base is down more than 20 percent compared with four years ago.
Projects such as the $800,000 town square revitalization and trail work are counting on grant money for the most part until they are farther along, but $10,000 was proposed for the square next year.
Briggs recommended a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for town staff, worth a total of $12,800.
Commissioners, who had their first look at the budget Monday, will come back to a May 20 meeting with further budget questions. They may adopt the budget and tax rate at that meeting.
They voted Monday to raise water rates for the second time in two years, with the new rate to take effect July 1 for customers who use more than 10,000 gallons per quarter. Customers who use 6,001 to 10,000 gallons per quarter will see no change in their rate of $2.40 per 1,000 gallons.
Customers will pay $4.50 instead of $3 per 1,000 gallons above 10,000 gallons. Commissioners set rates that go up for every 10,000 gallons used.
Households with two or fewer people may stay below the 10,000-gallon mark, Haller said. Commissioners have raised sewer and water rates in recent years to start closing a gap in the water enterprise fund that has been about $100,000 per year for a decade.
The costs to expand the water supply and build a new wastewater treatment plant have to be factored into the rates, commissioners said. Briggs budgeted $1.3 million for the water/sewer fund in 2014.
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