Landis aldermen set budget hearing

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 4, 2019

LANDIS — The Landis Board of Aldermen on Monday set a budget hearing for 5:30 p.m. June 24 to get the public’s input on the 2019-20 fiscal year budget.

Interim Finance Officer Roger Hosey gave a summary of the budget with the tax rate remaining at 53 cents per $100 property valuation and a residential electric rate of 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour, which would slash revenue in the electric fund by about $1 million.

Hosey also said the town would not offer any recycling because of the increased cost of recycling and residents’ complaints about what’s picked up going into the same container as the trash. The town looks to save its residents $2 a month.

Meredith Smith questioned the staff’s research about recycling and if it looked into the cost of recycling or to other recycling companies. Smith said for some, recycling is a big deal.

Hosey and Assistant Town Manager Brandon Linn said they had looked at other options and discovered that with some recycling companies, despite paying more, recycling still ends up in the landfill.

Smith recommended the staff explain the process more to residents.

Hosey said with the proposed budget, the town would be committing more than $500,000 to the fund balance.

Interim Town Manager Kenny Isenhour spoke about the need to invest in infrastructure despite some residents calling for the board to lower the tax rate. He read former Alderman J. Fred Corriher’s letter of resignation from 1991 when he left to serve as Catawba College’s president.

“If this town was to continue operating at this tax rate, then there is no doubt in my mind that services will continue to dwindle and the infrastructure would not only crumble but decay,” Isenhour read.

The tax rate was 23 cents per $100 in 1991. Isenhour continued to read, saying, “Revenues and income don’t always keep up with the demands of service” and the board should consider the damage of a low tax rate designed to win votes while ignoring failing infrastructure.

Isenhour said if the town board and staff had taken Corriher’s advice, Landis would be in a better place.

“He’s arguing that we need to make investments, and this budget certainly addresses that,” Isenhour said.

Mayor Mike Mahaley said he thought the proposed budget is a good one and applauded the lower electric rate. He added he will see how the budget is received as the final budget meeting later this month.

Mayor Pro Tem Tommy Garver said he had calculated how much he would be saving with the new electric rate. He said his latest electric bill was “$100 and a couple pennies” and with the 10.5-cent rate, it will be in the $80 range.

Alderman Tony Corriher said good things are happening and more good things are going to happen for Landis.

Resident Darrell Overcast commented on several budget items. He asked about where the recycling bins would go when the service is discontinued. He also said he is glad the town is ending the lease for a bucket truck that was not in use and costing the town money that could be spent to buy needed vehicles.

He also commended the staff that has been pulling for Landis despite most of them not living in the municipality.

Other business:

• The board approved the Dollar General stormwater management plan, which requires the owner to be responsible for monitoring and performing maintenance, including monthly inspections and inspections after every rainfall of 1 inch or more. The owner will also be subjected to a bond that is 1.25% of the $1.2 million project.

• The aldermen agreed to close Town Hall on July 1 to allow the town staff to close out the fiscal year.

• Linn asked the board to consider state-owned roads that need to be repaved. Several aldermen said Chapel Street would be their choice for repaving.