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Town of Halifax OKs budget with 2 percent raise; no increase in taxes

Halifax Town Council unanimously passed a $1 million plus budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year during their monthly meeting Tuesday night in Halifax Town Hall.

Councilman Bill Confroy did not attend the meeting.

 The $1,013,841 budget calls for no tax increases and a 2 percent cost of living adjustment for all employees. 

The town budgeted $364,411 toward administrative expenses and $23,350 toward business development. 

A total of $38,860 will be used for municipal building purposes, and $264,065 will be used for the police department. 

The fire department fund includes $41,950, and the street budget totals $267,832.  The amount set aside for sanitation is $113,373. 

 The real estate tax rate per $100 continues to be 171/2 cents, and the personal property tax rate per $100 is $1.68. The machinery and tool tax rate per $100 is 40 cents. The lodging tax rate is 31/2 percent, and the meals tax rate is at 3 percent.

 During the meeting Tuesday, Mayor Dick Moore thanked the finance committee, town manager and town employees for building the budget together.

 In other business Tuesday night, council voted to approve a two-to three-year pilot project request from Mid-Atlantic Broadband provided they receive more details on the project following a presentation on the project given by Ed Wilborne of Game Wood Technology, a co-op member of Mid-Atlantic Broadband.

 According to Wilborne, Mid-Atlantic Broadband has a client who wants to make their product available in the U.S., and the purpose of the pilot project will be to assess the viability of their equipment to see if they can bring the service to America.

  Wilborne said they would use a point-to-point link to make Internet available at the downtown water tank through the ethernet port at the stem center. A point-to-point link also will be located between the water tank to the former Halifax Elementary School providing free Wi-Fi in the Halifax area during the project.

  In other action Tuesday night, council reappointed Sylvia Lovelace to represent Ward A on the planning commission for a second term and approved the ratification of Thomas Walton for the Halifax County Service Authority Board of Directors for a second term.

 Council also adopted two resolutions pertaining to the Virginia Retirement System employer and employee contributions.

 The resolutions state the town will contribute 2.62 percent to the Virginia Retirement System effective July 1, and employees who were hired before July 1, 2010 will pay 1 percent with the town picking up the tab for 4 percent.

Those employed after July 1, 2010 will be responsible for paying the entire 5 percent to the Virginia Retirement system.

 A 1 percent per employee adjustment has already been added to the employees’ salaries as reflected in the proposed 2012-13 budget.

In other council business, Town Manager Carl Espy reminded members of the coyote seminar scheduled in Scottsburg Friday night.

Councilman Jack Dunavant urged council members to attend a uranium meeting to be held Monday at 6 p.m. at Chatham High School. 

According to Dunavant, the Uranium Working Group appointed by the governor to further study uranium mining will conduct the meeting (see related story). 

Dunavant encouraged council members to get as many people to go and speak up against uranium mining in Virginia. 

Mayor Dick Moore said he plans to attend this event.

During public comment, Mike Sexton thanked the mayor and council for appointing him to be on the town’s planning commission. 

Council went into closed session during the meeting to discuss matters of real estate and personnel. No action was taken.