East Spencer passes 2019-20 budget with water/sewer fee increase

Published 5:52 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2019

EAST SPENCER — East Spencer’s $2.5 million budget for the new fiscal year, which started Monday, includes an increase in the fee for large water users.

Mayor Barbara Mallett said the town did not previously have a fee for large water consumers. The fiscal year 2019-20 budget was approved Friday with no property tax increase but did pass along a cost increase for water and sewer service because Salisbury-Rowan Utilities will be charging the town more.

The water and sewer fund is challenging given the debt obligation and ongoing customer service fee from the provider, interim Town Administrator Phil Conrad noted in a June meeting of the town board.

The city of Salisbury approved a 1.6 percent increase in rates for East Spencer plus an additional average of $3,500 per month in sewer credits that are no longer available to the town. East Spencer approved a 1.2 percent increase in water fees, Mallett said.

The town asked Salisbury-Rowan Utilities to study the benefits of a merger into its system. The study is ongoing with a consultant.

The town will establish a graduated fee schedule for water meter maintenance based on the size of the account. The increase will affect primarily large users like those at industrial parks. The town minimum for water is $44.72 per month for a 4-inch line and $95.92 for a 6-inch line. The town minimum for sewer service is $50.90 per month for a 4-inch line and $109.42 for a 6-inch line.

The town also approved an increase in fees for development, street closings, nuisance abatement, public facility rentals, off-duty police services, control burns by the Fire Department and use of public works equipment.

Fees for renting park shelters and the splash pad and for mowing were increased. They had not been raised since 2008.

Other action

• The board approved amendments to the 2018-19 budget to cover the 1909 East building. Mallett said the utilities were more than the board had budgeted for and the change had to be approved before June 30. The auditor recommended the town make the adjustment before the end of the fiscal year.

• The board accepted additional revenue from sales and use taxes. Mallett said the town pays taxes at the end of the year and afterward can receive a refund.

“We are able to file for that and wanted to account for the additional revenue,” she said.

The board will have its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.