In­dian Head coun­cil adopts FY2017 bud­get

Sets aside funds to help re­vi­tal­iza­tion, cen­ten­nial cel­e­bra­tion

Maryland Independent - - News - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­ Twit­ter: Tif­fIndyNews

The In­dian Head Town Coun­cil adopted its $3.6 mil­lion fis­cal year 2017 fi­nan­cial plan and bud­get at its town meet­ing May 2.

Ac­cord­ing to Mayor Bran­don Paulin, the adopted bud­get rep­re­sents the coun­cil’s best ef­forts to bal­ance the ser­vice lev­els and fi­nances for res­i­dents who rely on the town’s ser­vices.

The Town of In­dian Head’s com­bined to­tal of bud­geted funds for FY 2017 is $3,644,870, which in­cludes set aside funds to con­tinue to re­vi­tal­ize the town’s con­di­tions and ser­vices.

The coun­cil orig­i­nally held a pub­lic hear­ing on April 14 to in­tro­duce the bud­get to In­dian Head res­i­dents be­fore its adop­tion on May 2. The or­di­nance adopt­ing the town’s fi­nan­cial plan and bud­get in­cludes set­ting the tax rate, sched­ule fees for var­i­ous per­mits, the ma­jor fa­cil­i­ties fees, wa­ter sewer and trash re­moval and dis­posal rate for the fis­cal year. The fi­nan­cial plan and bud­get will go into ef­fect July 1.

Ac­cord­ing to Town Man­ager Ryan Hicks, the gen­eral fund to­tal ex­pen­di­tures for FY2017 is $1,765,109 and the to­tal en­ter­prise funds for the fis­cal year is $1,879,761.

“We did not raise taxes, nor did we in­crease our wa­ter, waste wa­ter and trash fees, so we did not in­crease any of our cur­rent fees,” Hicks said.

The town’s prop­erty tax rate also re­mains the same at $0.30 per $100 of the full mar­ket value.

“We have in­cluded the board­walk on the Po­tomac and the con­nec­tor trail as some of the projects cur­rently be­ing worked on or have re­cently been com­pleted in the town. The town has been im­ple­ment­ing grant funded projects, with funds re­warded in re­cent years and has also sought out ad­di­tional grant funds for projects that will be car­ried out in fu­ture years. We also have a new parks and recre­ation depart­ment that is be­ing fully funded by a coun­cil­man and the vice mayor’s do­na­tions,” Hicks said.

“I have do­nated my town salary to fund parks and recre­ation along with a donation from Vice Mayor Ron Si­toula. I have com­mit­ted to fo­cus­ing on our youth so I have so­licited do­na­tions from other sources and feel op­ti­mistic,” said Coun­cil­man Cur­tis Smith. “The town’s waste wa­ter treat­ment fa­cil­ity, our most crit­i­cal piece of in­fras­truc­ture, and the pavil­ion ex- pen­di­tures are also of ma­jor con­cern as we pull 61 per­cent from the gen­eral funds.”

The coun­cil is work­ing to ful­fill main ob­jec­tives in this year’s bud­get such as re­pair­ing and re­plac­ing ag­ing in­fras­truc­ture, al­lo­cat­ing costs among the var­i­ous funds, pre­par­ing for ma­jor cap­i­tal projects in years ahead, in­creas­ing the po­lice pres­ence in the town, con­tin­u­ing to ex­pand upon the town’s com­mu­nity and chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­vid­ing the town with well trained and ed­u­cated em­ploy­ees.

“We were able to main­tain our tax rate and I know the res­i­dents are very ap­pre­cia­tive of that and we’re also bring­ing some new things to the town such as re­strooms out on the Vil­lage Green and on­line bill pay that will be on the town’s web­site,” Paulin said. “The on­line bill pay helps our town staffing who have to process the pay­ments. We al­ways have an is­sue with staff be­ing in mul­ti­ple roles and it will al­le­vi­ate a lot of tasks so they can work on big­ger projects.”

The town has also set funds aside to cel­e­brate the town’s 2020 cen­ten­nial event and is pre­par­ing ahead of time for other longterm ex­pen­di­tures to im­prove town ser­vices.

“We made some smart de­ci­sions in the bud­get about be­gin­ning to save for the town’s up­com­ing cen­ten­nial event in 2020 and health­care op­tions for town em­ploy­ees with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the qual­ity of care. We also made some pretty sub­stan­tial sav­ings which helped fund and bal­ance other ar­eas of needs. How­ever, we do need to do more for the kids and el­derly at In­dian Head. Though some progress has been made, the amount bud­geted is still not enough,” Si­toula said.

The town has not yet added the re­cent En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency fee to the FY2017 bud­get. Hicks said as soon as the EPA sends the coun­cil more in­for­ma­tion about the fee he will then cre­ate a bud­get amend­ment that will need to be added to ei­ther FY2016 bud­get or the FY2017 bud­get.

“Over­all the bud­get is great,” Paulin said. “It al­lows us flex­i­bil­ity and it shows that we are cov­er­ing the es­sen­tials and bring­ing in more con­ve­niences for the res­i­dents. I be­lieve we cov­ered all of our bases and once the sus­tain­able com­mu­nity goes through I think it will be very im­por­tant that we start pur­su­ing grants for fund­ing. We are still wait­ing to hear back about the sus­tain­able com­mu­nity grant and once that goes through you can guar­an­tee we will be ap­ply­ing for more grants to help fund the town.”

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