Charlestown ap­proves bud­get, will re­tain tax rate

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— The Charlestown Board of Com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved the town’s $1.529 mil­lion fis­cal year 2017 bud­get, which bal­ances with­out a tax in­crease or use of sav­ings, Tues­day

This up­com­ing bud­get re­flects a 9 per­cent de­crease from the cur­rent $1.69 mil­lion bud­get.

Wib Pumpaly, town ad­min­is­tra­tor, said no money is be­ing trans­ferred from the re­serve fund to the gen­eral fund to bal­ance the up­com­ing bud­get.

The prop­erty tax is set to stay

CHARLESTOWN

the same amount at 33.34 cents per $100 of as­sessed value. The town bud­geted for $451,000 in prop­erty tax rev­enue, a slight in­crease from the pro­jected $447,758 for the cur­rent year.

Pumpaly said the bud­get in­cludes an es­ti­ma­tion of a lit­tle over $46,000 in boat dock­ing and stor­age user fees this up­com­ing bud­get. This in­cludes the four mari­nas and the mu­nic­i­pal pier. The cur­rent tax is set at 5 per­cent of the slip costs not to ex­ceed $100. Last year, the own­ers of the Charlestown Marina, Leeds Marina and North East River Marina were not com­pli­ant with the town’s slip tax, which was passed in 2011, which led to a law­suit. The marina own­ers ar­gued they were un­fairly bur­dened by the tax be­cause the town-owned slips have a lower bill and in­her­ently set the mar­ket rate on a slip.

Last sum­mer, the town and the marina own­ers went into me­di­a­tion and reached a set­tle­ment.

This bud­get will also no longer have a Spe­cial Rev­enue Fund be­cause it does not op­er­ate as an en­ter­prise fund. The ac­count funded street re­pairs, but money was pulled from other ac­counts to pay for the work in pre­vi­ous years. The board agreed to move money from the fund di­rectly into the Gen­eral Fund and fund street projects from there.

In ad­di­tion to the rev­enue in­creases, the cap­i­tal bud­get also bud­geted $54,000 for a new front­loader and salt spreader. Al­though Pumpaly re­quested $75,000 for the equip­ment, the board chose to de­crease the al­lot­ted amount.

The bud­get also in­cludes a name change of the Pres­i­dent’s Dis­cre­tionary Fund to the Com­mis­sioner’s Dis­cre­tionary Fund. Pumpaly said the fund is bud­geted for $8,000 and pays for ex­penses such as the ho­tel and food fees when the com­mis­sion­ers go the Mary­land Mu­nic­i­pal League Con­fer­ence.

“I think it’s a great bud­get,” said Re­nee Ca­pano, com­mis­sioner pres­i­dent, about the ap­proved bud­get.

She said she had no con­cerns with this bud­get. Ca­pano said taxes did not have to be raised this year and this bud­get was eas­ier to fol­low com­pared to pre­vi­ous years.

Com­mis­sioner Joseph Letts agreed with Ca­pano and said the bud­get was “well done.” Letts said taxes do not have to be raised and the town is still re­ceiv­ing the same ser­vices.

“I’m just sat­is­fied,” he said.

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