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South Boston looks at $9.9M budget for 2012-13

South Boston town council got its initial look at a proposed $9,906,802 budget for 2012-2013 at Monday night’s work session, a 1 percent decrease from last year’s budget of $10,007,167.

No new tax increases or fee increases are included in the proposed budget, which carries over $379,000 in prior year income for one time capital expenditures, explained Town Manager Ted Daniel.

Those expenditures include $150,000 in carry-over funds for the Washington-Coleman Community Center project; $174,000 for priority storm water repairs and upgrades; $35,000 for a fire department EMS rapid response vehicle; and $20,000 for fire department building renovations.

Less $1,179,000 in transfers in and loan proceeds — grants and carry-overs — actual general fund revenues are projected to be $8,727,802 for FY 2012-2013, compared to $8,544,201 in 2011-2012.

The majority of that 2 percent increase is driven by projected increases in general property tax and local tax collections, according to Daniel.

Most of the 6 percent increase in the police department budget, $2,020,013 to $2,133,560 is for projected increases in fuel costs, while the increase in the fire department budget, $780,953 from $659,552, is to help pay for a new EMS vehicle and building renovations.

Noting the continuing rise in fuel prices, Councilman Coleman Speece asked Daniel if fuel costs for each department could be budgeted using the same formula.

“If there’s a big difference, we need to standardize the formula,” Speece said.

The budget includes $99,650 in landfill closure maintenance funds, an increase over last year’s $31,054, due to the transfer of administrative costs from the public works administration line item, according to Town Finance Officer Erle Scott.

The street maintenance budget for 2012-2013 is down $175,464 from last year’s budget of $1,671,133 due to deletion of part-time maintenance salaries and deferral of street paving projects, Daniel said.

The budget for street cleaning, on the other hand, is $170,306 compared to $133,708 during the current fiscal year to cover the cost of replacing a leaf machine, the town manager added.

Economic development is pegged for $120,021, compared to $115,021 last year, while the Main Street program is budgeted for $92,000, a decrease from $94,071 in the current fiscal year.

The South Boston contribution to the South Boston Museum remains the same at $79,051, while the contribution to the library system drops from $107,068 to $82,200, with last year’s increase primarily to pay for new carpeting installed at the South Boston Branch, Daniel explained.

The pay for performance fund — $80,233 for 2012-2013 — is contained in the line item for town manager, explained Daniel.

As evaluations of town employees take place, those funds are transferred from the town manager line item to different departments, Daniel added.

The budget is still an ongoing process, Daniel told council Monday night, with town staff prepared to discuss it on a case-by-case basis.

Some areas to look at include funding levels for the library, museum, economic development, YMCA, parks and recreation, sports contributions, grant matching and other support for The Prizery, in addition to the Main Street program, he suggested.


Appropriation for dental clinic

Council advanced an appropriation resolution for the proposed dental clinic to April’s council meeting.

The town needs to appropriate approximately $100,000 for the balance of the current fiscal year to cover costs associated with the project, according to Daniel, who asked council to consider amending the budget to cover any Community Development Block Grant money.

Council agreed to consider an appropriation resolution amending the fiscal year budget for Community Development Block Grant purposes at its April meeting.

The town had applied for and received grant funding of up to $700,000 from the Department of Housing and Community Development for a Virginia Community Development Block Grant to fund the project, which includes expanding the Halifax Primary Care Facility.

It also has received grant funding in the amount of $400,000 from the tobacco commission to help fund the project.

The 10,000 square-foot expansion of Halifax Primary Care would include 6,500 square feet to be used for shell space for future growth and 3,500 square feet for the proposed dental clinic.

The clinic would support at full capacity two dentists, two to four dental assistants and one dental hygienist.

Halifax Regional Health System has stated its intent to provide $865,575, with $454,060 in additional funding coming from federal/state/foundation funding to assist in the total cost of the project, estimated at $2,017,635.

Monthly financial statement

General fund revenues as of Feb. 29 reflected a balance of $6,860,558 in expenditures and $7,682,563 in revenues from a budget of $10,007,170, Finance Director Erle Scott reported Monday.

Adjusted totals reflect approximately $700,000 less in revenue and approximately $210,000 less in expenditures, according to Scott, who reported the cash operating general fund had a balance of $3,986,069 as of Feb. 29.

Real estate and personal property tax collections already have exceeded projections for the current fiscal year, according to the report, with $865,288 in real estate tax collections received out of a budget of $860,000; and $447,451 in personal property tax collections received out of a budget of $425,000.

Also exceeding projections are personal property tax relief collections, already standing at $295,432 out of a budget of $295,432 with four months remaining in the fiscal year.

Four other selected general fund revenues are expected to exceed budgeted amounts when looking at a tax comparison report, with occupancy tax collections already at $96,436, or 83.8 percent of the budgeted amount of $115,000; local sales tax receipts at $292,359, 77.9 percent; meals tax receipts at $705,260, 70.5 percent; and commercial utility tax receipts at $288,931, or 67.9 percent of budget.

A total of $147,327.67 in delinquent taxes have been collected thus far this year, according to Scott, with collections running a little behind from the same time last year.

Scott told council he suspects the reduced rate of collections is because many delinquent taxes have already been collected.


Landfill gas to energy project

Council emerged from closed session Monday and took no action on the landfill to gas energy project, according to Town Manager Ted Daniel.

Daniel and Public Works Director Alan Auld updated council on the landfill gas project in September.

Auld reminded council the project’s first phase, piping of gas from the landfill and construction of a blower and flare system that destroys methane and its carbon dioxide equivalent, had been completed.

He added the gas flow had been evaluated since May, including the monitoring of the flow rate of methane gas and other gases as they have been converted into potential carbon credits.

At that time, Auld said the town was in position to seek “customers” with the help of Joyce Engineering to pursue a sale of carbon credits.