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Town battling high grass with little manpower

The town has battled through an unusually wet spring and summer and also has dealt with staffing issues while trying to keep grass mowed, South Boston Public Works Director Alan Auld told South Boston Town Council members Monday.

Berry Hill Road resident Charles Phillips had called council’s attention to problems he sees in regards to poorly maintained grassy areas throughout town, particularly at Cotton Mill Park, at its July 8 meeting.

Phillips had asked council to look into the matter.

Auld presented cost figures his department has dealt with the past several months to give council an “idea of what his department is up against.”

Auld said June 2013 rainfall was almost seven inches compared to 1.68 inches in June 2012, with 4.19 inches of rain falling in July.

Mowing costs thus far this year have amounted to approximately $52,379, compared to $42,000 in 2012, Auld said, with cemeteries on a two-week mowing cycle as opposed to a three-week cycle before.

His department has cut back on mowing along roadsides, but any cost savings have been absorbed in mowing the Tobacco Heritage Trail.

The public works department has spent approximately $22,000 in spraying sidewalks and streets thus far, according to Auld, who told council his mowing crew is down to two full-time staff due to accidents and injuries.

Daniel noted the town’s recreation department itself has a heavy mowing schedule, including the grounds at the recreation center and town parks.

Auld also updated council on weed abatement and blight control in the town, with 125 complaints of weedy lots reported in the July 2012-13 time period.

A total of 89 out of that amount has been reported since January, according to Auld, probably due to the excessive rainfall.

The town also has taken down three houses recently, he reported, all three on College Street, and all of them at the request of the owners.

 

Year-end, monthly financial report

Town Finance Officer Erle Scott reported actual revenues of $11,144,953 for the 2012-13 fiscal year, including a $662,392 fund balance, with actual expenditures of $11,144,953.

The fund balance was mainly attributable to the town’s not using the full amount budgeted for storm water abatement improvements under the VDOT revenue sharing plan, Scott explained.

Those figures compare to projected budgeted amounts of $11,497,323 in revenues, including a fund balance of $1,094,000 and expenditures of $11,497,323.

The cash operating general fund had a balance of $954,153 as of June 30, according to Scott.

All but two selected general fund revenue budgets reached or exceeded their goals for the past fiscal year.

Categorical aid stood at $2,559,157, or 95 percent of budget, but over $1 million in revenues for that category are due in a few days, Scott told council.

Real estate collections stood at $2,559,157 or 98 percent of budget; personal property tax collections at $498,048, 114 percent; personal property tax relief at $295,432 or 100 percent; local taxes at $409,577 or 106 percent; occupancy taxes at $161,012 or 129 percent; meals taxes at $1,147,409 or 109 percent; and business license tax collections at $560,671 or 114 percent of budget.

Final budget figures for delinquent tax collections also surpassed expectations, according to Scott, finishing at $130,350, including $171,653.04 in taxes and fees.

That was 132 percent of the budget for 2012-13.

Council also advanced to its August agenda a request from Daniel to carry over a total of $374,408.02 in funds for the Washington-Coleman Community Center project.

 

Appointments

Council considered appointments to the South Boston Industrial Development Authority and the Lake Country Development Corporation at Monday’s meeting.

George Burton has been recommended to fill the seat vacated by the late Jim Burton on the Industrial Development Authority, with the term set to expire June 30.

George Leonard, Erle Scott, Eric Roberts and Coleman Speece currently represent South Boston on the Lake Country Development Corporation.