The town of Elkin will not raise taxes in its 2014-2015 proposed budget. Coming off a surplus, the town will invest in two Capital Reserve Funds earmarked for economic development projects and recreation. Meanwhile, the town will lay off three employees, and make cuts to special appropriation requests, if the commissioners pass the final proposed budget.
The Elkin Board of Commissioners held its final budget workshop Thursday in Town Hall. The town manager is expected to issue a budget message to its residents in about one week.
According to Town Manager Lloyd Payne, the General Fund will check in at about $4,759, 926, a six-percent increase over last year. The Water Fund is expected to generate $1,167,81, a 3.9-percent increase.
Below are a list of some budget highlights, but are not official until the actual budget is released and passed.
The town will pay $65,000 for the pavement of the parking lot in Town Hall. A grant will be received to build a pavilion for the Elkin Farmers Market.
Tax Incentive payouts will be made to The Liberty ($2,242.50), Prism Medical (property taxes, $880.27; jobs $12,795 based on 15 jobs) and Pittsburgh Glass Works ($93,113.97).
Parks and Recreation
Parks and recreation replaces fitness equipment at $20,000. Outdoor bleachers were recognized in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The town will spend $14,000 on portable bleachers. An ADA-compliant chair lift for the pool will be installed at $6,000.
“The rec center is going to require money over the next few years to reach master plan levels. We have to continue to pump money into the park to keep it up, or watch it deteriorate. We rather be proactive,” said Payne.
Two communications dispatchers will experience a lay off. The Elkin Police Department will close its lobby at 6 p.m. The county will handle 911 emergency calls until 6 a.m. The Elkin Police Department will post a phone number for citizens to call its on-duty officer during evening and overnight hours. Since county communications will handle calls, commissioners said there is no need for the local communications positions.
There are no proposed changes to the budget of the Elkin Fire Department.
The Public Works department will get a new dump truck. The cost is $55,000. A new salt spreader at $10,000 also is added to the budget.
One employee who handles leaf and limb pickup is being laid off.
“The vast majority of his time is spent riding around searching for debris. It’s not efficient and costs us money. Every year we go in the hole gas, wear and tear, etc. The town will rely on a work order system. It means debris will get picked up within three days of a work order,” said Payne.
Elkin will purchase a new server at $10,000. The server is expected to last five to seven years.
All 47 employees will get staff raises of two percent. Administrators may provide a one-percent merit bonus, based on performance. All 20 employees who are still working and identified as being below a 2008 pay study will have their salary increased to the salary level suggested in the pay study. The cost results in $24,000 including benefits.
Special appropriation requests
While the budget provides special appropriation funding, multiple entities did not receive what originally was requested. The general consensus of commissioners was to continue to support special appropriation requests, but to strongly encourage entities not rely on future funding.
In one move, the town opted to transfer in two installments (for the next two years) monies remaining in the Lillard Fund, money left to the town for use by and for the library administered by the commissioners. The fund has about $60,000. Each installment will be for $30,000. The town will add $55,000 to the library to equal $85,000 in appropriation this year.
Capital Reserve Fund
According to Payne, for the first time in town history, the town is taking surplus revenue and placing $122,815 into a Capital Reserve Fund. The money locks in future use for economic development projects listed below:
• The redevelopment of the Smith Phillips building.
• The purchase of additional land for economic development.
• Development of existing land on property.
In addition, a Recreation and Parks Capital Reserve Fund with a deposit of $5,000 is created specifically to fund replacement of town owned bridges or trail.
“We’ve started the process demonstrating a commitment and desire by the board. These are all proactive disciplines,” said Payne.
Fund balance update
The town of Elkin was operating at 38 percent of unreserved funds at end of June 30, 2012. As of June 30 of 2013, unreserved stands at 50 percent.
Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.