Centreville Town Coun­cil ap­proves FY2017 bud­get

In­creases prop­erty tax rate by 3 cents

Record Observer - - Front Page - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — The Town Coun­cil of Centreville unan­i­mously passed Or­di­nance 05-2016 that adopted the town’s Fis­cal 2017 bud­get dur­ing its Thurs­day, June 16, meet­ing. The gen­eral fund, en­ter­prise fund and cap­i­tal project bud­gets total $3,551,420, $2,229,003 and $5,577,300, re­spec­tively.

Be­fore the bud­get was adopted, the town held pub­lic hear­ings re­gard­ing the con­stant yield tax rate and the bud­get it­self. The only speaker for ei­ther of the two hear­ings was Queen Anne’s County Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee Chair­man Tim Kingston, who asked the coun­cil not to in­crease the town’s prop­erty tax rate.

The coun­cil opted not to use the con­stant yield rate of $0.3698 per $100 of as­sessed value, which is the tax rate needed to gen­er­ate the same amount of rev­enue as the cur­rent year, and chose to in­crease the cur­rent prop­erty tax rate by three cents to $0.41 per $100 of as­sessed value.

“As a Repub­li­can here in the county, any type of tax in­crease, some­times we ac­tu­ally find it some­what of­fen­sive,

some­times it’s ac­tu­ally needed,” Kingston said. “I don’t be­lieve in this par­tic­u­lar case it’s needed, and we’d like you to re­vise, re­view and hope­fully re­scind this.”

The three-cent prop­erty tax rate in­crease will gen­er­ate $207,970 in ad­di­tional prop­erty tax rev­enues for the town, town fi­nance of­fi­cer Martha Dar­ling Sparks said. The or­di­nance also set the town’s util­ity tax rate to $2.11 per $100 of as­sessed value.

Ex­pen­di­tures in the gen­eral fund bud­get are as fol­lows: leg­isla­tive, $32,150; plan­ning and zon­ing, $45,700; gen­eral gov­ern­ment, $937,925; pub­lic safety, $1,241,637; emer­gency ser vices, $45,000; roads, $939,685; solid waste, $282,535; parks and recre­ation, $41,293; Main Street, $15,600; ceme­ter y, $20,965; and $6,850 for wa­ter­shed.

Dar­ling Sparks said $10,000

will go to­ward code en­force­ment ser­vices; a $26,000 in­crease re­lated to a grant writer, eco­nomic devel­op­ment, cod­i­fi­ca­tion and ac­count­ing fees; $165,000 in ad­di­tional debt ser vice re­lated to road and park im­prove­ments with more than half the cost com­ing from a pro­posed re­fi­nanc­ing of an ex­ist­ing loan with lower in­ter­est; $36,000 re­lated to a $1,200 in­crease for each town em­ployee; $40,000 in­crease re­lated to ca­reer lad­der pro­mo­tions; $30,000 in­crease in health care costs; and $21,000 in­crease in workers com­pen­sa­tion in­sur­ance.

Gen­eral fund cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­tures in­clude $40,300 for new fi­nan­cial soft­ware; $74,000 for building im­prove­ments and the re­place­ment of a Centreville Po­lice De­part­ment ve­hi­cle; $2.2 mil­lion for road im­prove­ments pro­posed to be funded by a bond is­suance; $273,000 for park im­prove­ments; and $90,000 for mo­bile equip­ment for the de­part­ment of pub­lic works, Dar­ling Sparks said.

Dar­ling Sparks said fund­ing of the gen­eral fund and the gen­eral fund cap­i­tal bud­gets will be ob­tained through the pro­posed bond is­suance, trans­fers from the gen­eral fund bal­ance re­serves as well as the cur­rent year’s gen­eral fund rev­enues.

High­lights of the en­ter­prise fund cap­i­tal projects bud­get in­clude a $2.5 mil­lion in­crease for waste wa­ter and in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments, $270,000 for waste wa­ter col­lec­tion sys­tem im­prove­ments and $65,000 for a new UV Sys­tem re­place­ment, she said.

“One thing I’d like to note is that we, staff, within the last week, [the] town man­ager has en­tered into a con­tract to re­duce a three-year con­tract for elec­tric­ity sup­ply that Coun­cil­man (Jim) Beauchamp was also in­volved in ini­ti­at­ing, and that’s go­ing to save the town ap­prox­i­mately $15,000 per year,” Dar­ling Sparks said. “So, even though this bud­get was still in place, staff was still work­ing to find ways to lower costs, and they are still in that process.”

She said that the town held 10 bud­get work ses­sions as well as nu­mer­ous meet­ings be­tween Town Man­ager Steve Walls, and the de­part­ment heads. She said staff be­gan with a needs-based bud­get, which was re­viewed and re­vised, and then staff pro­vided the coun­cil with lists of “ex­pen­di­tures as­so­ci­ated with var­i­ous items that would af­fect the ef­fi­ciency and, ul­ti­mately, the lev­els of ser­vices pro­vided by the town.”

Town Coun­cil­men Ge­orge “Smokey” Sigler and Tim McCluskey thanked the town staff for their work in the bud­get process.

“I know it was a long, ar­du­ous process ... and thanks to all of you for do­ing such a great job in that re­gard,” Sigler said.

To view the fis­cal 2017 bud­get in its en­tirety, visit town’s web­site, www.townof­cen­tre­ville.org, and se­lect “Fi­nance” on the left side of the home page.

Fol­low Mike Davis on Twit­ter: @ mike_k­ibay­times.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

Tim Kingston, chair­man of the Queen Anne’s County Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, spoke out against the Town of Centreville in­creas­ing taxes dur­ing the con­stant yield tax rate hear­ing be­fore the Fis­cal Year 2017 bud­get was passed on Thurs­day, June 16.

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