Wednesday public hearing, vote set for Farmville budget.

Published 6:14 am Wednesday, April 10, 2024

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Town employees would get a raise if the council signs off on the currently proposed Farmville budget. Farmville’s real estate tax would also remain the same under the plan, with a couple more positions being added. 

Going into Wednesday’s public hearing, the overall budget comes to $25.472 million, just slightly over this current year’s $25.278 million. The real estate rate would stay at 13 cents per $100 of assessed value. 

Farmville Mayor Brian Vincent praised the effort by Town Administrator Scott Davis and his staff, “for once again putting together what I think is an excellent budget in your pursuit of continuing to represent us well in financial reporting and departments.” 

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With fewer projects scheduled this year, you see a smaller budget for the water fund, sewer fund, transport and airport funds. The proposed water fund is $3 million, down from $3.827 million. Sewer funding would drop from $2.727 million to $2.55 million in the new budget, while transportation funds would drop from $1.164 million to $925,000. As for the airport fund, that would drop from $1.28 million to $1.14 million. 

Two parts of the budget would climb if the proposal gets approved. That’s the General Fund, which would go up from $14.39 million to $15.485 million and the Street Maintenance Fund, which would go from $1.886 million to $2.35 million. 

And we mentioned a raise. That would include a $3,000 raise across the board for all full-time employees and a $1 an hour raise for part-time employees. The current proposal also calls for one additional full-time firefighter and one additional full-time recreational position. With the splash pad going active later this year, the town needs someone to manage it. 

Breaking down other expenses

A couple of the expenses in the budget involve work in the downtown area, including a $47,000 expense to redo planters. 

“The black boxes with the Farmville logo that are all up and down Main Street, we’re going to replace all of them,” Davis told the council during their April 3 work session. “They’ve been around for quite a bit. We’ve repainted them a few times, so we’re going to replace them with the new ones.” 

Also, some tree islands are being put in the town parking lot behind the courthouse. In 2022, Hampden-Sydney College was one of 11 schools whose researchers worked together on a “Virginia Heat Watch” report. The report flagged Farmville as one of several Virginia communities that need “heat mitigation” efforts in their downtown. Basically, the idea is that through things like tree islands, street vegetation and reflective roofs, you can reduce heat in places like downtown areas. 

“(The) study showed there were several areas in town that needed heat mitigation because of lack of canopy and those types of things,” Davis said. “One of the main ones was our parking lot behind the courthouse. We put in for a grant through the Department of Forestry that will create tree islands in that parking lot.” 

Another retreat in Farmville budget 

When Farmville Mayor Brian Vincent was sworn in, he outlined a specific goal. He planned to get the Farmville town council together for a retreat and hear from each member, to better understand each other’s objectives and figure out how to make them work. That meeting happened in February 2023 and the council signed off on a strategic plan built from those sessions. 

In the proposed budget, money would be allocated for another retreat, set for Spring 2025. 

“We will plan on doing another retreat,” Vincent explained during the work session. “We’ll do another one in the spring following the council elections. We’ll revisit our strategic plan and our goals and go from there.” 

What’s coming up next? 

Residents will have their chance to weigh in on the proposed budget on Wednesday, April 10. The public hearing will be held during the council’s regular session, starting at 6 p.m.