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Council slates hearings on budget amendments

South Boston town council approved a public hearing during Monday’s work session for its Aug. 14 meeting for amendments to the 2012-2013 budget totaling $1,315,000.

The purpose of the amendment to the general fund is to appropriate funding ($1.2 million) to accomplish stormwater upgrade projects as approved through the Virginia Department of Transportation Revenue Sharing matching grant program; provide financial assistance to the Higher Education Foundation ($50,000) and adequately appropriate funds to town council priorities ($65,000), including a second $5,000 donation to the Virginia Coalition.

Council had voted in May to donate $5,000 to the Virginia Coalition.

A total of $1.2 million in general fund capital expenditures are earmarked for stormwater improvements in several areas of South Boston, including drainage improvements in the Powell Road area and the western side of Traver Avenue.

Several area construction firms have expressed an interest in the projects, according to Town Manager Ted Daniel.

At a June work session, Daniel identified 11 separate stormwater improvement projects, three in the vicinity of Powell Road and one each for Grove Avenue, Gann Street, Penick Avenue, Powell Road, McKinney Street, Greenway Drive, Moore Avenue and Easley Street.

The most expensive component of the revenue sharing plan ($845,000) involves reconstruction of a bridge on Summit Drive and involves moving the bridge location from 545 feet west of Railroad Avenue to a location 700 feet east of Railroad Avenue.

At its June 4 work session, council set the strategy for Halifax Educational Foundation financial support that resulted in the joint town-county resolution committing the two bodies to each provide $104,229 in annual funding for FY2013-14, FY2014-15 and FY2015-16.

Council also proposed providing $50,000 in support funding for FY2012-13 that commenced July 1, with staff recommending council carry over $50,000 from 2011-12 as part of the budget amendment.

Town staff also recommended carrying over $5,000 from 2011-12 as part of the budget amendment.


Year-end financial report  

Town Finance Officer Erle Scott reported mostly positive news in his year-end financial statement.

Revenues stood at $11,095,745 as of June 30, the end of the fiscal year, 110 percent of budgeted totals, while expenditures stood at $10,375,378, or 103.7 percent of budgeted totals.

The cash operating general fund balance was (-)$413,076, the deficit as explained by Scott attributed to large debt payments, with those amounts coming back in next month under recovered costs.

Each of eight selected general fund revenues finished the fiscal year ahead of budget, with occupancy tax collections leading the way at $150,948, or 131.3 percent of budget; local taxes at $435,782, 116.2 percent; business license taxes at $537,181, 113.1 percent; meals tax at $1,098,811, 109.9 percent; categorical aid at $2,277,246, 108.6 percent; current personal property tax at $457,067, 107.6 percent; current real estate tax at $878,134, 102.1 percent; and personal property tax relief at $295,432, 100 percent.

In his tax comparison report, only two categories lagged behind, consumer utility tax collections of $419,950 or 98.8 percent of budget for FY2011-2012, and telecom tax collections at $599,958, or 97.5 percent.

A total of $180,713.72 in delinquent taxes was collected in the past fiscal year, Scott said, noting the success of the DMV Stop Program.

“All in all, I think it was a good year,” Scott told council.


Delinquent tax sell-off

Scott reported to council the results of a recent delinquent real estate tax sale conducted by the county.

The properties placed for sale have delinquent tax and fee balances with the town.

Three properties were pulled from the sale, with South Boston receiving a total of $512.50 after the sale was concluded, with a gross charge off amount of $10,344.57 and a net charge off amount of $9,832.07.

In other agenda items, council discussed possible items to be added to the agenda for its bi-annual retreat, scheduled for Aug. 24-25 at Berry Hill Resort and Conference Center.

Some possible issues on council’s radar include continuation of the school resource officer programs in partnership with the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office; capital improvements to Rose Garden Cemetery; development of a neighborhood park on the old Cotton Mill property in conjunction with Master Gardeners.

Other potential agenda items discussed by council include continued support for the Halifax County/South Boston Regional Drug-Gang Task Force and library consolidation.


Upcoming vacancy

Council discussed an upcoming vacancy on council due to the announced resignation of Connie Manning.

Manning’s resignation is effective Sept. 1, with an appointment to the empty seat due by Oct. 15.

A special election is scheduled for Nov. 13, 2013 to fill the remainder of Manning’s term.