Elkton approves $13.4M budget without changes
Gives 3% salary bump to town employees
— The Town Board of Commissioners approved the $13.4 million fiscal year 2017 budget Wednesday night with little discussion following the resignation of its biggest critic, former Commissioner DJ VanReenen, last week.
More than $2 million from the savings account will balance this year’s budget., leaving the savings account with an anticipated $1.785 million balance.
This upcoming budget represents a $124,515, or 0.9 percent, increase from the current budget.
The property tax rate is retained at 58.56 cents per $100 of assessed value, the same rate as last year, rather than the constant yield rate of 58.73 cents per $100 assessed value. This is the third consecutive year without a tax increase. The water and sewer rates, which were lowered in January 2015, are retained in the budget, as well.
All non-law enforcement employees will receive a 3 percent pay raise, the second increase for town employees under Alt’s administration after he gave a 5 percent increase last year. Members of the Elkton Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 124 are not scheduled to receive a cost-of-living adjustment in the fiscal year 2017 budget, but each offi- cer will receive a 3 percent increase on his or her anniversary date, per the negotiated agreement with the town. Their contract expires in June 2017.
A fully-staffed police department, 45 officers, is budgeted for, despite carrying four budgeted and four non-budgeted open positions in the past two years. A “line item rebate” for the four non-budgeted officer positions would require a future budget amendment in case more than four qualified applicants are hired. In the budget, $305,100 was allotted for six new police vehicles to phase out aging cars. Nine vehicles were purchased this fiscal year.
The Department of Public Works will receive $89,000 for a new utility vehicle, three zero-turn mowers and shop tools including an 8-ton lift, tire balancer, tire changer, air compressor and an auto refrigerant recovery system. Four additional employees were requested by the department, as well.
“I’m very pleased with the budget,” Alt said on Thursday.
He said the 3 percent sal- ary adjustments for town employees was needed. Alt was also pleased that the police department will receive funding to purchase a fingerprint scanner and voice recognition equipment. He said DPW’s new equipment such as the 8-ton lift will not only save time and money, but may also prevent injuries for employees working with equipment.
The vote to approve the budget was unanimous, though Commissioner Charles Givens, who was re-elected in the May municipal election, was absent and there is one vacant seat on the board following VanReenen’s resignation.
The 2017 budget goes into effect on July 1.