Faith approves budget, add more potential hours for deputy town clerk

Published 12:05 am Thursday, June 27, 2024

FAITH — The Faith Board of Aldermen approved the budget for the upcoming fiscal year during a specially-called meeting on Wednesday morning.

The approved budget kept the town’s tax rate at 41 cents per $100 of property valuation and did not raise any of the water or sewer rates for residents.

Much of the discussion on Wednesday morning centered around one part of the proposed budget, $19,760 that was included to pay for a part-time deputy clerk to assist Town Clerk Karen Fink.

Fink also serves as the full-time finance officer for the town. Before discussing and approving the budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year, the aldermen also voted on several changes to the prior year’s budget for the fiscal year close-out. Included alongside changes such as increasing the budgeted water sale revenue by $3,600 to match the actual income was a vote to roll-over six of Fink’s vacation days, which she said she had been unable to find time to take the past year. The vote passed unanimously.

“I’m trying my best, it just gets really busy this time of the year. I’m hoping with the additional office help that I hope is approved in the budget, we won’t be doing this ever again,” said Fink.

The discussion during the meeting centered around the best way to help with the clerk’s duties and whether an average of 19 hours a week, which is the maximum before governments are required by the state to pay into the Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System, would be enough help.

“We’re all on the same page, knowing that you need help and we’re going to get it to you. We just don’t know who, what or how much yet,” said Mayor Randall Barger.

The aldermen moved instead to budget for 20 hours of help a week. At 20 hours, the budget would likely include approximately $2,800 for retirement benefits.

“I really believed that we should stick to the 20 hours. That way, there are going to be times when (Fink) takes time off or when (Administrative Assistant) Teri (Hart) takes time off, that you may need extra for that week. Let’s not play around, that’s the whole purpose of having the extra person, she can take time off,” said Alderman Jayne Lingle.

Barger noted that if the town budgets for the retirement benefits and extra hours but ends up not needing them, they can always adjust the budget downwards much easier than they could adjust it upwards.

“That gives us so much more flexibility,” said Mayor Pro Tem Dale Peeler about the 20-hour budget.

The only other modification made to the proposed budget was to increase the town’s fund balance appropriations for event sponsorships by approximately $9,500.

At the end of the discussion, the aldermen voted unanimously to approve the proposed budget with the two discussed changes. Aldermen Gary Gardner and Laura Evans were unable to be at the meeting.