Town budget includes no tax increase

JONESVILLE — The town of Jonesville’s tax rate will remain at 45 cents per $100 assessed valuation for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The general fund tax rate is based on an estimated total appraised value of property for the purpose of taxation of $161 million, Town Manager Scott Buffkin explained in the proposed budget.

The tax rate was raised from 40 to 45 cents with the adoption of the 2014-2015 budget.

The Jonesville Town Council approved the proposed budget by an unanimous vote at its June meeting Monday night after no one spoke at a public hearing on it. The only increase in general fund fees or charges in the $2,559,300 budget is a 50-cent per month increase for recycling pickup service, which will rise from $2.35 per month to $2.85.

“In fact, we’ve lost money in that area the last couple of years,” Buffkin said. “I still think that service is quite a benefit.”

Every town resident was provided with a roller recycling bin free of charge when the service first started, he said, but if it’s stolen or something happens to it, the town charges $65 for a replacement bin.

Buffkin told council members that there is a possibility the town may have to raise water rates at some point in the coming fiscal year, “but that’s something we can do at a later date after we see how the revenues are coming in.”

He said in his written budget message that the town continues to pursue agreements with neighboring towns “to secure a market for the water capacity that our new plant can now provide.”

Completed about three years ago, Buffkin said the water plant has a capacity of producing 1 million gallons per day. “Currently, we’re only producing a little less than 400,000 gallons per day,” he said. “However, it could be expanded fairly easily to double that if needed.”

The new budget will provide 2.5-percent merit increases to superior performing employees. “However, as salary increases will be based upon merit, not all employees will receive equal increases,” Buffkin said in his written summary.

In summarizing the proposed budget, Buffkin described it as being “financially sound” while demonstrating “a genuine effort to be as efficient and cost-conscience as is both prudent and possible.”

After very little discussion, town council members approved the proposed budget by an unanimous vote. Buffkin said the budget was discussed at length in several meetings and budget workshops leading up to Monday’s meeting.

“The town’s finances really have not changed in any substantial way in several years,” he said. “I guess it’s just natural that as you become more comfortable doing it and the numbers become more familiar to you, all the concerns or questions that might come up, we probably discussed them last year or the year before.”

Buffkin said Jonesville has a great town council. “I will brag on them at any opportunity,” he said. “They’re good people to work with. They’ve got good common sense, which I’ve found will take you a long way.”

Kathy Chaffin may be reached at 336-258-4058.

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