Chesapeake City OKs budget, holds tax rate
— 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.
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.