Ris­ing Sun ap­proves fi­nance or­di­nance

De­fines process, tar­gets dead­beats

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— The board of town com­mis­sion­ers passed an or­di­nance Tues­day night that es­tab­lishes an of­fi­cial fis­cal pol­icy, which in­cludes adding penal­ties to past due bills.

The ba­sic thrust of the or­di­nance is to spell out the pro­ce­dure the town al­ready

RIS­ING SUN

uses to draft its bud­get and man­age its fi­nances and in­vest­ments.

“The state does not ob­li­gate us, but the town should pro­vide a play­book for in­vest­ment poli­cies,” said Calvin Bo­nen­berger, town ad­min­is­tra­tor.

He told the mayor and com­mis­sion­ers the or­di­nance will come into play for fu­ture boards, pro­vid­ing a set of rules to fol­low.

“We’ve talked about poli­cies that were made in 2003 that were aban­doned by 2005,” Bo­nen­berger said at the Tues­day night town meet­ing. “We need a con­sis­tent path.”

The or­di­nance, which was in­tro­duced in Fe­bru­ary, will also al­low the town to ad­just cer­tain fees as needed.

“Like any busi­ness, we need to re­cover some of our ex­penses,” Bo­nen­berger said.

“We’ve al­ways had im­pact fees,” he said of the cost charged to devel­op­ers to cover wa­ter and sewer hookups and other ser­vices. “The fees were raised in 2009 ... but we never put that into an or­di­nance.”

The cur­rent im­pact fee is $19,600.

“We have a fee sched­ule, but we’ve never had an or­di­nance that clearly de­fined that we have a fee sched­ule and what’s in it,” he added.

Be­fore the or­di­nance was passed, Bo­nen­berger said that out­side of cut­ting off wa­ter and sewer ser­vice, the town had no way to force some­one to pay for a mu­nic­i­pal in­frac­tion.

“We have res­i­dents right now that are very as­tute and know what is go­ing on with their neigh­bors,” he said.

Re­fer­ring to the re­cently passed prop­erty main­te­nance code, Bo­nen­berger said the town has a whole set of guide­lines to go to a prop­erty owner and force him or her to clean it up. Only fines can be levied, how­ever, which can sit un­paid for years, with no penalty or in­ter­est ac­crued.

Look­ing at the big pic­ture, the town ad­min­is­tra­tor said the an­nual au­dit will point out that type of debt, which also gets the at­ten­tion of any fi­nanc­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“Un­paid debt is af­fect­ing the town’s abil­ity to bor­row,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we are not taken ad­van­tage of with this.”

Pas­sage of Or­di­nance 2016-03 gives the town a ham­mer to swing at dead­beats.

“Un­til now there were no penal­ties for non-pay­ment of fees,” he said. “This changes with the new or­di­nance.”

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