Elk­ton ap­proves $13.4M bud­get with­out changes

Gives 3% salary bump to town em­ploy­ees

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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.

ELK­TON

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.

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