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Landis aldermen make budget amendments for state law compliance

By Liz Moomey

liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

LANDIS — Finance Officer Diane Seaford on Monday presented a series of budget amendments to Landis aldermen that bring the town’s contingency accounts into compliance with state statue.

The NC Budget and Fiscal Control Act requires a contingency appropriated that does not exceed 5% of the total appropriations in the same fund. Seaford said this was an oversight when the 2020 fiscal year budgeted and later amended.

“Contingency allows you to take a certain amount of money and say, ‘Well we know we’re going to have emergencies that come up throughout the year, we need to have some money to count on.’ It’s kind of a safety net,” Seaford said. “But you don’t want that safety net to be too large, because then you’re going against the spirit of what the budget does.”

The board approved five budget amendments. They include distributing a debt payment to be between principal and interest and decreasing contingency in the general fund, the light fund, the storm water fund and the water fund.

For the general fund, the town is coming up on two loan payments due next fiscal year. In the past, the town would lower its monthly expenses to make the minimum payment with the hopes of renegotiating the loan payment. Seaford said this was not the best way to handle loan payments if the town was not in a financial crisis.

“We have a number of those we’re seeing come due now,” Seaford said. “In my opinion, the best way we can do is pay those off whenever we can, as fast as we can.”

Interim Town Manager Leonard Barefoot said the town needs to get into the habit of buying equipment and begin creating a stock. He referred to three bucket trucks that the town has been leasing since 2015. When those leases end, the town should look at buying, he said.

Other business:

• The board agreed to allow the purchase of a $300 software system at the town’s pool. The software will prevent members from sharing the pool pass. It will track member usage and provide a way for the town to communicate with the pool users through email about emergency situations, weather closings and special events.

Parks and recreation supervisor Jessica Stamper proposed other changers to the pool operation to which the board will return at its April meeting. Stamper recommended the pool hours be 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday. The change would allow the pool to be rented out on weekends. Last year, the town had about six rentals and about six other groups they had to deny. Pool rentals are $450 for three hours and up to 60 guests.

She also said the town should forgo a non-swimmer free admission policy. She said she has seen member’s abuse it.

• The board adopted electric tariffs, a document that details the current rate structures and the service provided to customers. The passage does not affect the electric rates.

• Aldermen will hold a retreat at 5 p.m. on March 19.

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