Charlestown an­tic­i­pates slip tax boost in next bud­get

Pro­poses to hold prop­erty tax rate

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— With the dust now set­tled in a lawsuit be­tween the town and its mari­nas, of­fi­cials are pro­ject­ing to bring in tens of thou­sands next year from its boat slip tax passed five years ago.

On Wed­nes­day night, the town’s $1.53 mil­lion pro­posed fis­cal year 2017 bud­get was in­tro­duced to the pub­lic. The pro­posed bud­get is a 9 per­cent de­crease from the cur­rent $1.69 mil­lion fis­cal year bud­get.

The prop­erty tax is pro­posed to stay the same as last year at 0.3334 cents per $100 of as­sessed value. Af­ter the meet­ing, town ad­min­is­tra­tor Wib Pumpaly said the pro­jected rev­enue is $451,000 in prop­erty taxes and added the town is pro­jected to bring in $447,758 for cur­rent fis­cal year.

Pumpaly said the town is bud­geted to bring in $46,428 in pro­jected rev­enue in boat slip user fees this up­com­ing fis­cal year, which in­cludes the four ma-

CHARLESTOWN

ri­nas in town and the mu­nic­i­pal pier, which leases 33 boat slips. The cur­rent tax is set at 5 per­cent of the slip costs not to ex­ceed $100. Pumpaly added the leased user fees are ex­pected to bring in about $1,000 be­cause the cost to lease is about $30.

Last year, the own­ers of the Charlestown Ma­rina, Leeds Ma­rina and North East River Ma­rina were not com­ply­ing with the in­tent of the town’s slip tax, which was passed in 2011. The cost of a slip in town could run be­tween $900 to $2,000, but the own­ers were item­iz­ing the costs down to slips, ad­min­is­tra­tive costs and ameni­ties among other things be­fore ap­ply­ing the tax to the slip cost, ac­cord­ing to the town’s lawsuit.

On the other hand, the mari­nas ar­gued that they were un­fairly bur­dened by the tax, as town-owned slips face a much smaller bill and in­her­ently set the mar­ket rate on a slip.

Last sum­mer, the town and mari­nas went into me­di­a­tion over the is­sue and reached a set­tle­ment.

Dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing, town ac­coun­tant Nick Tri­onfo said the town will elim­i­nate the Spe­cial Rev­enue Fund, mov­ing its monies to the gen­eral fund, be­cause it is not self-sus­tain­ing. Among the fund’s pro­poses was street re­pair fund­ing, but fund­ing had to be pulled from other ac­counts to pay for up­keep of streets in re­cent years. He said the town will now have two ac­counts, the gen­eral fund and util­ity fund, rather than three.

Tri­onfo also re­ported the state gave the town a lit­tle un­der $16,000 for its High­way User fund­ing. Pumpaly noted the town re­ceived close to $90,000 in High­way User fund­ing seven years ago. The town an­tic­i­pates re­ceiv­ing grant fund­ing up to $42,000 next year.

Pumpaly said he is also in­ves­ti­ga­tion a pos­si­ble ex­pan­sion of the town ceme­tery near St. John’s United Methodist Church to cre­ate 50 more lots, which could re­sult in $50,000 of new­found rev­enue.

One of the few new cap­i­tal re­quests in the bud­get came from Pumpaly, who re­quested $75,000 for a new front loader and salt spreader. The board de­creased the fund­ing to $54,000, how­ever, forc­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tor to seek better deals or in­ves­ti­gate fi­nanc­ing the equip­ment.

A part-time code en­force­ment of­fi­cer for the town was bud­geted was bud­geted for as well.

Re­nee Ca­pano, board pres­i­dent, said she has no con­cerns for the pro­posed bud­get.

“Things are work­ing out pretty well,” she said. “Ev­ery­thing seems to be on track.”

Mary Carol Du­range, board vice pres­i­dent, and com­mis­sioner Bruce Hech­mer were not in at­ten­dance. No res­i­dents came to the meet­ing.

The bud­get is sched­uled to be con­sid­ered at the board’s next meet­ing at 7:30 p.m. Tues­day.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Com­mer­cial boat slips in Charlestown, such as these at Lee’s Ma­rina, will be a boost to the town bud­get now that the full slip tax will be ap­plied in the up­com­ing fis­cal year, of­fi­cials re­ported.

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