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Landis considers tax increase

By Shavonne Potts
Salisbury Post
LANDIS ó In a brief Thursday meeting, the Board of Aldermen made few final decisions about its budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.
The town’s proposed utility budgets are balanced, but with requests for more personnel and vehicles still pending from town departments, aldermen face decisions about the general fund.
The board decided to recess Thursday’s special called meeting until 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Overall the the 2008-09 budget includes:
– A 3 percent salary increase for all employees.
– One new position each in the police and fire departments.
– A possible 1-cent tax increase that would bring an addition $21,000.
Right now, the tax rate remains at 40 cents per $100 of assessed value, which translates to a $600 bill on a home assessed at $150,000. An adding 1 cent to the tax rate would add $15 to the bill on that house.
A total of six new vehicles were requested, with one vehicle being divided between the light, water, administration and fire departments.
The town has switched to electric and water meters employees can read without leaving the office.
Alderman Tony Hilton was concerned about whether the town has the necessary software to support the new meter-reading system.
Town Administrator Reed Linn assured him the town has what it needs.
“Everything we’ve got now is compatible. We have upgraded the server in anticipation to go with the automatic reader,” he said.
Regarding the light fund, Linn informed the board that electric rates were increased by 2 percent due to a wholesale increase to the town.
The light fund also includes $108,000 for paving and concrete work at the public works maintenance facility.
The water fund is expected to see a monthly meter fee increase from $10 to $11 per month. In addition, water rates are expected to increase from $6.50 to $7 per 1,000 gallons.
The water tap and access fees will remain at $1,000 each.
In the sewer fund, the monthly minimum charge is expected to increase from $7 to $8 per month. Sewer rates should increase from $8.75 to $8.85 per 1,000 gallons.
Tap and access fees will remain at $1,000.
A 7 percent increase was figured on the wastewater treatment charges from Salisbury and the same increase on the water purchased from Salisbury.
The sewer fund also includes repairs to the lift station, upgrades and emergency dialers for communications.
The Storm Water monthly fee remains at $5 for residences and $10 for businesses. The budget allows for the town to continue system mapping.
The board talked about possibly implementing a tiered system of water and sewer fees.
Linn said the town used to have a tiered system but eliminated it.
The board asked the staff revisit a tiered system, beginning with homeowners who use no more than 2,500 gallons a month up to those who consume more than 15,000 gallons.
The Police Department requested $50,000 for building upgrades to create and equip an interview room so they will be in compliance with state mandates, create a secure entrance from the lobby and make improvements to the former board room so it can be used as patrol area.
The recreation budget includes a master plan with an estimated cost of $25,000; and building upgrades to the pavilion/playground and depot; Linn Field Concession Stand renovation; and maintenance on the American Legion and recreation building.
Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or spotts@salisburypost.com.

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