Charlestown approves budget, will retain tax rate
— 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
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.