The Town Hall parking lot has potholes, and residents say they’re growing worse each year.
Fees may increase on water, recycling, leaf and limb services and cost for playing youth sports at the recreation center.
Outside agencies such as the library, emergency response services, arts and civic organizations, may all realize a 10 percent cut in funding, some even up to 30 percent in cuts.
Town officials who proposed the 2012-2013 budget to commissioners say the reality is that money is not there, and though worthwhile, organizations receiving special appropriations could be at risk or receiving less this year.
Lloyd Payne, town manager for Elkin, recommended his $4,181,537 proposed budget for commissioners last week at the most recent budget workshop.
There was general consensus in the room for accepting a 10 percent across the board cut.
Agencies impacted by potential cuts are now responding.
“That’s devastating,” said John Hendrick, director of the Northwest Regional Library. “That would simply wipe out books.”
The Town of Elkin supports 43 percent of the entire budget for the Elkin branch of the Northwestern Regional Library. The branch has a book budget of over $7,000. They say a 10 percent cut would mean the branch would lose $8,500.
“We’re tight over here,” added Martha Smith of the Elkin branch. “It’s not like we’ve gotten a raise to our salaries. We have not seen a pay increase since 2008.”
Off the table would be tapping into the general fund to remedy Elkin’s spending.
The current undesignated fund balance for the Town of Elkin is estimated at $1,586,868. The fund balance was as high as $3 million in 2008 and has been rapidly depleting since. Records show the 1990s as having stronger balances for the town.
“I believe the way to stop tapping into the general fund requires commitment from the town board to keep the water fund independent of the general fund,” said town manager Lloyd Payne.
New for Elkin, the Town water fund would be balanced and separate from the general fund in Payne’s proposed budget. To make it sustainable, Payne suggested an increase in water fees for its residents of $1 on the minimum bill, plus an additional $0.50 for each additional 1,000 gallons of water used.
“We are hopeful that water sales will increase in the next few years, which will allow us to complete a variety of capital projects which have been delayed or put off for several years. Bottom line, it will take active monitoring of the water flows and sales along with expenses coupled with the commitment that the general fund is no longer an option. It must stand apart and on its own,” said Payne.
“Forget the parking lot. That’s not happening,” said Commissioner Cicely McColluch. “Those types of projects are just going to have to wait. We have too many things more important to consider.”