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Landis takes first look at budget

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

LANDIS — The town’s first budget workshop was over in less than 10 minutes. The Board of Aldermen and town staff met Thursday night to take a first look at the proposed budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

But the proposed $11.7 million budget was already balanced and calls for no tax or service increases for town residents — something Mayor Mike Mahaley said was a first for him. Mahaley thanked the staff for quick work.

“You know, last year it was right down to the wire,” he said.

Town Manager Reed Linn said he’d promised the board a balanced budget by May 31 and he was making good on that promise. It will give the board plenty of time to tweak the budget as needed.

“Since this is your first look at the budget, you’ll have several weeks to look at it before you either adopt it or tear it apart,” Linn said.

The proposed budget is a slight increase over last year’s shoestring budget of $11.5 million, but Linn said the change is because of a slight increase in revenue the town has seen over the past year. He said water and sewer revenue is up.

Last year’s budget saw the loss of eight public safety positions — two full-time and six part-time — and few capital expenditures.

This year, department requests have been factored into the budget, including Police Department requests for new vehicles, which was denied in last year’s budget. The Police Department has the largest budget request, totaling $928,094.

A new expense this year is a debt payment on a town firetruck, which is $43,000, including $22,000 in interest. Linn said this will be the last payment on the truck.

The Parks and Recreation Department requested about $90,000 for payments — $41,650 to pay off a PARTF grant and $47,800 to loans taken out for the town pool.

Other capital expense requests included upgrades to the U.S. 29 lift station; installation of AMI electric light meters; continuation of the town’s 12KV conversion; and repairs to storm drains on West Rice Street, which Linn said were discovered collapsed a few weeks ago. The repairs are expected to cost roughly $58,000.

Aldermen Dorland Abernathy and Seth Moore were absent from Thursday’s meeting. The next budget workshop is at 6 p.m. May 18.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

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