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Spencer approves budget with no tax increase

By Amanda Raymond

amanda.raymond@salisburypost.com

SPENCER — The Spencer Board of Aldermen approved a $2.76 million fiscal year 2016-2017 budget at its meeting on Tuesday.

The budget will keep the tax rate at 65.5 cents per $100 of property value.

At the meeting, Town Manager Reid Walters said the biggest item in the budget was the need for a new garbage truck.

The town currently has two trucks, and Walters said the town has spent more than $35,000 on maintenance for the trucks for the past five years.

“It’s come to the point where the town does need a new garbage truck,” Walters said. “I believe the last one was bought 13 years ago.”

Walters also mentioned that there would be an increase in the Parks and Recreation Department budget. The increase reflects a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant for Spencer Woods that will be matched by the state. Walters said the town may also need to create a gravel parking lot at 8th Street as part of the project, and the cost of the parking lot is also reflected in the budget.

There is $30,000 set aside in the budget for self-contained breathing apparatus equipment for the Spencer Fire Department. That equipment has to be replaced every 15 years, and Walters said the current equipment was purchased in 2003.

Walters said the town will seek a matching grant for the cost of the equipment, but if the town does not receive one, it will proceed with a partial purchase.

During the public hearing, resident Bob Oswald asked how the two garbage trucks will be used. He also asked if the Spencer Woods grant would be used towards keeping the Main Street area near Spencer Woods clear. He came up a second time to say he was in favor of a budget that did not increase taxes.

Walters said the town will probably keep one of the garbage trucks as a back-up.

“There’s really no resale value for a 14-year-old garbage truck,” he said.

He also said the town will let goats clear out the area at least one more time and then look into other treatments.

Patsy Duncan complimented Reid for his work with the budget.

Daniel McClerin asked if efforts to decrease kudzu growth could be extended to other parts of the town.

No one spoke in opposition of the budget.

Mayor Jim Gobbel said the goal of the budget was to meet the needs of the citizens.

“This is more or less a needs-type budget,” he said.

Alderman David Smith made the motion to adopt the budget, and it was approved unanimously.

Alderman Kevin Jones was absent from the meeting.

Other highlights of the budget:

  • The budget for the governing body will decrease to $51,059. The decrease is caused by the lack of a municipal election this year.
  • Salary and wage adjustments have caused the budget for administration to be $352,355, a decrease of $43,488.
  • The budget for the police department will increase by $9,135 to $900,906, and will include money for new radars, in-car printers and other technology needs.
  • The budget for the fire department will decrease by $24,678 to $294,017. The decrease is because the last payment for the fire station is a partial payment this fiscal year.
  • The budget for the streets department will be $355,689, an increase of $19,153.
  • The budget for the Solid Waste Department will be $359,111, an increase of $33,067. It will include the first payment for a new garbage truck and purchase of 50 new garbage carts.
  • The budget for the Land Management Department will decrease by $16,956 to $140,093. It will include funds for a used truck and professional services.
  • The budget for the library will increase by $3,302 to $78,446 because of the five-year routine maintenance for the outside of the building.
  • The budget for recreation will be $227,050, technically increasing by $208,843.
  • The projected revenues are $2,758,726 and the total projected expenditures are $2,758,726.

In other business, the board:

  • Heard departmental reports, a report from the town manager and reports from the mayor and delegates.
  • Heard public comments. Patsy Duncan complimented Walters, Land Management Director Troy Powell and Jeremy Bates, the new code enforcement officer, on their hard work. Bob Oswald thanked Walters for doing something about the overflow of cats in the area and asked the aldermen if they would call Duke Power about dead phone poles. He asked for an update on the Plaza and asked that homes be monitored to determine which were single-family homes and which were multi-family homes. Daniel McClerin asked that a motion be made to have the Historic Preservation Commission be addressed as commissioners in documentation. He said it was “not appropriate” for individuals to just use a last name in the documentations of minutes. Gobbel asked that McClerin come before the board with a presentation and then the board will make a decision.
  • Approved the Comprehensive Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.
  • Approved a bid for the Stanback Forest Preserve from KMD Construction, LLC.
  • Approved budget amendments for the current fiscal year.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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