Ch­e­sa­peake City OKs bud­get, holds tax rate

Cecil Whig - - & - By JA­COB OWENS

jowens@ce­cil­whig.com

— The town coun­cil unan­i­mously ap­proved the town’s nearly $1.74 mil­lion fis­cal year 2017 bud­get Mon­day evening with lit­tle dis­cus­sion.

The bud­get, which holds the town prop­erty tax rate of 44.85 cents per $100 as­sessed value while also not touch­ing util­ity rates, be­came a mi­nor point of con­tention in the re­cently con­cluded town elec­tion that saw Mayor Dean Geraci­mos win re­elec­tion.

CH­E­SA­PEAKE CITY

Sev­eral town res­i­dents voiced con­cerns about a draft ver­sion of the bud­get that pro­posed to raise the tax rate by sev­eral cents, but Geraci­mos squashed those con­cerns with a May work­shop meet­ing that iden­ti­fied cuts.

Geraci­mos and the town coun­cil went through the $813,000 pro­posed op­er­at­ing bud­get line itemby-line item, com­par­ing bud­geted costs to this year’s pro­jected ex­pen­di­tures and walked away with a net gain of nearly $15,000 in the gen­eral fund. While town staff orig­i­nally pro­posed to hold the town tax rate to the con­stant yield rate — rais­ing it al­most a penny to 45.73 cents to equal the cur­rent year’s ex­pen­di­ture in lieu of de­creased as­sess­ments — the coun­cil agreed to use about $8,000 of the found sav­ings to stave off even that in­crease.

The ma­jor­ity of the cuts iden­ti­fied were sim­ple hedg­ing against fu­ture us­age for con­tracted ser­vices and sup­plies, but the mayor and coun­cil also did agree to in­crease bud­geted do­na­tions to the town fire com­pany and Lit­tle League to $1,000 each.

A new part-time code en­force­ment of­fi­cer will also be funded by the bud­get for $10,400 a year, while re­pairs to town hall are also bud­geted.

One of the few out­stand­ing ques­tions fol­low­ing the town’s work­shop was whether they would re­visit the in­creased out­door mu­sic per­mit fees, passed by the coun­cil in April, fol­low­ing com­ments to coun­cil mem­bers from the two town busi­nesses that will be di­rectly im­pacted: Schae­fer’s Canal House and the Ch­e­sa­peake Inn. Ul­ti­mately, the board de­cided to not take fur­ther ac­tion to de­crease those fees though.

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