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Farmville Adopts Budget

FARMVILLE – The 2012-13 Town budget was adopted by Town Council during its reconvened meeting on Monday.

There will be no tax increase.

There will be a $10 per month sanitation fee added to water and sewer bills that will be mailed on a monthly basis, no longer every other month.

The adopted budget totals $15,240,178 in anticipated revenue from all sources for the 2012-13 fiscal year. Expenditures are expected to tally $14,632,173, creating a year-end balance of $608,000. Town officials regard the balance as a contingency for future projects, unanticipated expenses, or emergencies.

In fact, on Monday Town Council approved purchasing a new tractor for just under $27,000.

The transmission went out on the current tractor and Town officials decided buying a new one made more sense than spending money on a new transmission for a 27-year old tractor.

“The transmission was messed up on it,” Town Manager Gerald Spates told council members. “They came back and said it's $9,000 to fix the transmission.”

There was a whistle of surprise at the cost and council member David E. Whitus asked about the price of buying a new tractor.

Spates told him, “$26,763.”

The vote to buy a new tractor was unanimous (council member Tommy Pairet was absent).

Additional budget highlights include $60,000 to pay for an executive director for Downtown Farmville's Virginia Main Street project that is focused on downtown revitalization.

Town of Farmville employees will be on the receiving end of a four percent raise during the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The top local revenue producer for the Town of Farmville is the food tax, which the budget projects will top $2 million next year.

The business license tax will generate approximately $1.3 million, the second largest revenue source.

By comparison, the real estate tax brings in nearly $600,000.

And Farmville's personal property tax tallies just over $200,000.

As for the new monthly sanitation fee, Spates explained the Town's need for the fee in a letter responding to a town resident critical of the fee and the switch to monthly billing for water and sewer.

“The main reason for the monthly billing is cash flow and secondly we will be able to detect (water) leaks on bills in a shorter period of time, which will save money for the consumer,” Spates wrote in a May 22 letter included in Town Council's June meeting packet. “All utility companies do monthly bills, such as telephone companies, cell phone service providers, Internet providers and power companies.”

Regarding the services the Town provides without charging residents, Spates noted, “The Town provides sanitation service. We presently, and have for years, provided this service at no charge. We furnish a free rollout cart to residents and businesses. We provide curbside pick-up and dispose of the trash at the county landfill, at a cost of approximately $60,000 a year in tipping fees.

“In addition, we pick up leaves, brush and twice a year pick up anything a resident puts out to be picked up. The Town has a fulltime person, seven days a week that picks up trash on our streets and sidewalks,” he writes. “We have been able to furnish these services to our residents and businesses, at no charge, for years. We can no longer afford to do so. The proposed sanitation fee of $10 a month, which equates to $2.20 a week, will help offset the cost of providing these services.

“We get very little in real estate tax and (Town) Council feels that each service should in some way pay for itself,” the town manager explained.