When budget time rolls around, that effort takes precedence over most everything else. But it doesn’t mean that things stop.
The St. Pauls Board of Commissioners received a preliminary budget for fiscal year 2012-2013 at its monthly meeting on May 10.
That preliminary budget calls for no increase in the town’s property tax rate of .60 per $100 valuation, but does call for two small increases in service fees.
According to St. Pauls Town Administrator Stuart Turille, who is compiling the budget, the Town will seek a $1 per month increase in garbage collection fees, from $14 to $15, and a $1 increase in minimum water and sewer fees from $10 per month to $11 per month.
Turille said that except for a small adjustment in water fees in 2010, these are the first increases in fees during the five year period that he has prepared the budget. The increases are necessary this year, he said, in order to help offset the costs of extending services to the nearly 200 new residences annexed into the city and to satisfy State demands that the water and sewer fund become solvent and gradually build up a surplus. St. Pauls has been dependent upon state grants for improvements to its water and sewer infrastructure in recent years and these state grants are now depleted because the state is out of money.
He also said that he would like to grant Town employees a Consumer Price Index raise of 2%, but this is problematic because healthcare costs for the Town employees continue to rise, this year by 18%.
While the budget is of course the big news, there was more agenda items before the Board.
-Tabled, for more information concerning costs of right-of-way purchases, a proposal to construct a sidewalk on the north side of Broad Street from Old Stage Road westward to Sanford Street;
-approved a DOT plan to install an audible signal at the intersection of Broad and Second Street. This will cost the state about $60,000, but will cost St. Pauls only the cost of some minor ramp work and sidewalk repair; the signal will enable anyone with a disability to cross the street with a time delay and structural improvements such as ramps. It will be the only such intersection for crossing the street for those with a disability in town.
-heard an informative presentation from Wanda Gaddy about the Youth Self-Improvement Program, a holistic way to help at-risk kids with eating and sleeping disorders and emotional control; Gaddy’s approach is to take an individual interest in kids who exhibit emotional difficulties in school, and by this intervention to prevent kids from going down a path to drop-out and crime. Hers is one of the only such programs in Robeson County that is pro-active and seeks to steer kids from incorrect choices at an early age. Her program is in Lumberton but comes to St. Pauls
-approved a new sewer use ordinance to include a pre-treatment plan for all prospective businesses, in order to accept the leachate water that SP is accepting , for a fee, from the County Solid Waste Landfill;
-approved acceptance of the first phase of the NC STEP plan;
-approved two budget amendments for the 2011-2012 budget. These are the appropriation of $26,000 for the SP Fire Department to buy a used equipment vehicle, (a new equipment vehicle is $250,000 so and good used one at this price might save the Town funds in the long run) and acceptance of the first $5,000 of the $25,000 grant from the NC STEP program;
-approved a request from Thelma Gilbert to refund the rental fee on the Hooks Community Center due to death of the event honoree.
Not voted on but discussed was beginning foreclosure of the former Burlington Mills building on Armfield Street due to lack of 2011-12 property tax.