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South Boston budget carries no new taxes, fees

South Boston Town Councilmen got an initial look at a proposed $9,537,427 balanced budget for 2013-2014 during a finance committee meeting held Thursday morning.

Town staff is not projecting any tax increases, rate increases or fee increases in the proposed budget, Town Manager Ted Daniel said Tuesday.

No salary increases are included for town employees in the proposed budget except through the pay for performance pool, increased from $56,000 to $64,499.

The proposed budget represents almost a $2 million decrease over the current year budget of $11,456,802, the difference driven “primarily and predominately by capital improvements that we do not have this year,” Daniel said.

“We do estimate revenues conservatively,” said Daniel. “It’s a responsible position to be in, and it prepares us for any surprises.”

Last year’s capital expenditures included $150,000 in carry-over funds for the Washington-Coleman Community Center, $174,000 for priority storm water repairs, $35,000 for a fire department and EMS rapid response vehicle and $20,000 for fire department building renovations.

The budget will call for use of fund balance to cover some one-time, short-term expenditures, according to Daniel.

The budget contains projected general fund revenues of $3,723,100 in local tax collections, compared to $3,680,600 the previous fiscal year; and $16,000 in miscellaneous revenue related to landfill closure.

Other revenue sources include $200,000 in loan proceeds, $1.85 million in street maintenance (VDOT lane mileage).

General fund expenditures include $2,318,503 for the police department, including $11,000 for an E911 radio lease as part of an upgrade to the E911 Emergency Center; and $699,295 for the fire department, compared to $775,376.99 for the current fiscal year.

Police Chief Jim Binner told council that equipment-wise, his department is in good shape, adding they would not need replacement vehicles for a couple of years.

A total of $48,260 in last year’s fire department budget allocated for repairs to both the fire department building and equipment has been put to use, with all but three projects completed, Fire Chief Steve Phillips told council.

A total of $76,405 is proposed for the museum, compared to $76,775 in the current year’s budget, with the town’s contribution the same as last year ($25,000).

The library is projected to receive a total of $95,200 in the proposed budget, compared to $82,200 in the current fiscal year, with the town’s contribution rising from $62,000 to $76,000.

The proposed budget includes (for the first time) expenditures for the Washington-Coleman Community Center at $37,685, including electricity, telephone/security and materials and supplies.

Economic development expenditures include $20,000 for The Prizery; $50,000 for low income housing initiatives; and $104,000 for a Halifax Education Foundation grant match.

A total of $73,460 is budgeted for the Main Street Program, compared to $93,453 in the current fiscal year, minus the $18,565 town contribution and part-time salaries.

The projected budget includes $84,255 for the planning department, compared to $77,683 in the current fiscal year; and $390,956 for public works, compared to $398,800 for the current fiscal year.

Street maintenance is budgeted for $1,595,643, compared to $1,533,137 in the current year’s budget, while expenditures for streetlights ($153,000) and snow and ice removal ($36,000) remain the same.

Street cleaning expenditures rise to $174,925 from $172,041 in the proposed budget, and from $170,052 to $173,940 in the line item for refuse collection.

Parks and recreation is budgeted for $152,133 in the proposed budget, down from $154,302 the current fiscal year.

The projected total reserve for contingencies is $22,538 for the 2013-14 fiscal year, compared to $84,180 for year 2012-13.

Finance Committee Chairman Coleman Speece, finance committee member Bill Snead, Mayor Ed Owens and council member Bob Hughes attended the budget work session.

More fine tuning has to be done, Daniel reminded those attending the work session, with council scheduled to discuss the proposed budget at a later date.