Elkton reviews requests ahead of mayor’s budget
Tax hike unlikely, according to projections
bshea@ cecilwhig. com
— While the mayor and commissioners continue reviewing preliminary departmental budget requests, new revenue projections indicate that a tax increase will likely not be part of next year’s budget.
During the board’s April 13 workshop, Mayor Rob Alt said the town is projected to collect a little under $ 7.5 million in
property taxes this fiscal year, which was also how much officials originally planned to budget for next year. He said he wanted to be more cautious with the fiscal year 2017 budget, however, as the town originally projected to bring in only $ 7.1 million this year, but is projected to exceed expectations.
After the meeting, town finance director Steve Repole said the town’s property tax is expected to remain unchanged at 0.5856 cents per $ 100 of assessed value.
Representatives from the planning, building and zoning, finance and ad- ministrative departments also presented their budget proposals to the board at their April 13 workshop. None of those departments requested new personnel or high- value items.
In the human resources department, officials requested a part- time clerk, who would work no more than 20 hours a week for six to 12 months, to help with record keeping.
The board previously heard from the department of public works in January, when officials requested $ 89,000 in capital expenditures, including a utility task vehicle — commonly referred to as a Gator — three zero- turn lawnmowers and shop equipment, as well as four additional employees for the town’s water ser vices, two for its sewer ser vices and one for its sidewalk repair crew.
Alt proposed to decrease the Elkton Chamber and Alliance’s economic development fund from $ 100,000 to $ 25,000, noting that only $ 15,000 out of the allotted amount has been used so far this year. The economic development account provides for events, such as Business Appreciation Day when town businesses are rec- ognized. Any of the money left in that fund at the end of this fiscal year would be returned to the town’s general fund for further use, Alt said.
That fund became controversial late last year, however, when it was utilized to temporarily rent a building on West Main Street in order to keep it vacant. The funds were dispersed without the entire board’s knowledge, and because the space’s rental was to ensure a nonprofit organization did not enter the building due to the desire of the Alliance and Mayor Rob Alt to fill it with a retail business.
Repole said a total amount for the budget has not been established yet, but Alt and finance department staff will meet soon to develop a final proposal to be forwarded to the town board of commissioners in May. Commissioners will then be able to make cuts to the budget, but not add new expenses.
Historically, the board of commissioners — including any new commissioners elected in the May 24 election — will consider the final budget at a June meeting. The fiscal year 2017 budget goes into effect on July 1.