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Council set to approve budget at June meeting

Halifax Town Council set approval and appropriation of the proposed $1.4 million 2014-15 fiscal year budget for its June 10 meeting during its regular meeting following a committees meeting and work session in Halifax Town Hall on Tuesday night.

According to Town Manager Carl Espy, projected expenditures for the upcoming fiscal year general fund total $1,460,523, which is a 8.36 decrease from the current years amended budget and up 3.85 percent compared to the original 2013-2014 fiscal year budget.

Espy said administrative functions will account for 28 percent of the budget totaling $407,709. Two percent or $29,750 of the budget will go towards business development. This will include level funding for the part-time events coordinator, Halifax Farmers Market development and town façade improvements.

Municipal building expenses will account for 3 percent of the budget totaling $45,300 and will include continuing interior repair and improvements energy conservation and ADA compliance for a second restroom and front entry.

Twenty-Two percent of the budget will go towards the town police force with expenses projected at $325,174 for five full-time officer salaries and vehicle expenses.

A total of $39,350 will go towards the fire department expenses making up 3 percent of the budget, Espy said.

Street expense will account for 32 percent of the budget totaling $473,000, and  $402,500 of that will go towards funding for the Banister River Gateway project.  Street expenses will also include funding for the town cemetery, sidewalk repair program, VDOT storm water improvements and street materials and supplies.

 Sanitation expenses will make up 10 percent of the budget totaling $140,240 and include funding for a part-time technician II authorized to full time and a replacement trash truck.

In other business Tuesday night, Council approved a Virginia Retirement Resolution setting the employer contribution rate and member contributions by salary reductions.

The resolution states that VRS members who began employment before on July 1, 2012 will be required to contribute 3 percent of their creditable compensation by salary reduction affective July1, 2014.

Tuesday night council also discussed a proposed Paid Time Off (PTO) Policy.

According to Espy, the proposed policy will combine traditional annual leave, sick leave and personal days into one system or bucket and paid holidays remain outside of the PTO structure.

Under the proposed policy, those who have served for one to three years can accrue 15 vacation days and six leave days totaling 21 PTO days.

 Those with four to six years of service will be allotted 18 vacation days, and six leave days totaling 24 PTO days while those who have served seven to nine years will be allotted 21 vacation days and six leave days totaling 27 PTO days. Employees with ten plus years of service will be allotted 24 vacation days and six leave days totaling 30 PTO days.

Five sick days have been selected to satisfy the five workday waiting period before the short term disability benefits would commence. The Town has the option to either add or subtract days to best suit the work force.

Espy said its recommended that the sick leave balance be frozen which means that unused time remains available for specific uses but does not continue to accrue.

Also during the meeting Tuesday night, council pondered on whether or not the 35 mph sign on 360 coming in to town on Bethel Road should be moved on the town’s side of the bridge or not.

Council Jack Dunavant said that it would give motorist more time to slow down before coming into the town. However, other council members thought that moving the sign could be risky especially with the upcoming improvements being done for the Banister River Gateway Project.

 They felt it would be much safer if drivers slowed down on the county’s side of the bridge.

 Council asked Halifax Police Chief Kevin Lands to do some research on the matter and bring recommendation to the June 10 meeting.

Also during the meeting, Mayor Dick Moore reminded council that he, Dunavant, Councilwoman Kristy Johnson, Councilman Dennis Witt and Councilwoman Janice Powell are all up for reelection in November. He said June 10 is the deadline to qualify with the local registrar for candidacy.