Young presents budget to Spruce Pine Town Council

SPRUCE PINE – The Town of Spruce Pine’s proposed budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year is set. 

Town Finance Manager Crystal Young presented the first iteration of the budget to the Town Council and Town Manager Richard Canipe Monday, April 29, at a special meeting. 

Young brought some minor changes to the council Monday, May 13, at its regular meeting.

The budget is not final and can be changed up until the board votes to approve it. Before voting on the budget, the town must have a public hearing, which is set for 6 p.m. Monday, June 10.

“We tried not to put in any fluff,” Canipe said. “Crystal did a great job and we thank her for her hard work.”

The budget is Young’s first for the town on her own since taking over for David Lindsey, who retired from the position. 

“You really hit the ground running,” said Spruce Pine Mayor Darla Harding. 

The proposed general fund budget will operate using a projected $2,283,027, the bulk of which ($1,068,103) comes from 2019 collected taxes. 

The proposed general fund budget is approximately 16 percent less than the 2018-19 fiscal year. The 2018-19 budget was inflated mainly by the purchase of a new street sweeper and the purchase of the Mayland Printing building.

The property tax rate will remain steady at 51 cents per $100 valuation in 2019-20.

By the projected budget, the most heavily-funded department is the Spruce Pine Police Department which would receive $860,907. 

The police department’s funding remains largely unchanged from the 2018-19 fiscal budget, which called for $860,326 for the department. 

The Parks and Recreation department would receive $230,754, which is up from its 2018-19 funding that totaled $206,393. 

One of the culprits in the slightly inflated parks and recreation budget is the department’s multiple capital outlay projects which include a new lawn mower, a new merry go-round to replace the broken one in Riverside Park and fresh paving for spots in the parking lots Brad Ragan and Riverside Parks. 

Town administration and finance would check in as the third-highest funded department at $230,379. The administration and finance budget includes $10,000 for a capital outlay roofing project in town hall. 

The budget for the town’s public works department is greatly reduced from 2018-19, which called for $362,941. 

This year’s budget decreases capital outlay projects by $286,107 which helps reduce the total budget to $134,265 for 2019-20.

The public works’ department lone capital outlay projects are slated to be a new shop vac valued at $110 and new storage lockers for employees at an approximate value of $1,620.

The budget for the town fire department is set to increase slightly in 2019-20. The department received $122,316 in 2018-19 and is slated to get $134,050 next year. 

The department’s supplies and materials allotment will remain steady at $6,000 but the Spruce Pine Volunteer Fire Department contract funding will increase by $11,734 at the beginning of the fiscal year, accounting for the increase. 

The town’s proposed enterprise fund budget would operate on a projected water and sewer revenue of $2,509,870 – a figure that includes a 25-cent rate increase on overage rates (usage above 2,000 gallons). 

The council originally discussed the benefits of a 10-cent rate increase but unanimously agreed a 25-cent increase was the most logical decision.

Council member Jackie Rensink agreed with other members of the council that such an increase would greatly help offset the cost of major water and sewer capital outlay projects. 

“A quarter would put is in a good place,” she said. “It also wouldn’t burden the consumer.”

Water and sewer revenues are slated to increase by $43,984 which thus decreases the fund balance allocation by that amount.

The water and sewer department hopes to complete several high-dollar capital outlay projects this fiscal year including a $118,000 effort to install two influent pumps in town, a $42,626 project to work on the Beaver Creek sewer line and a $23,200 NTR screen cleaning project. 

The water and sewer administration is also scheduled to receive $56,000 for 200 radio read devices. 

“The town will continue to move forward addressing the needs and desires of citizens in the most efficient and effective way possible,” Young said. “I am optimistic about the coming year and look forward to the benefits that our citizens will receive through the improvements the town will make in fiscal year 2019-20.”

 

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
Fax: 828-765-1616