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Sharpsburg budget features less funding for local groups

June 04, 2002|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG - Sharpsburg's proposed budget includes money for water and sewer subsidies for town residents, but not nearly as much money as was spent this year for contributions to local groups and events.

So far this year, the town has given $52,547 in contributions. That includes $30,000 to Sharpsburg Area Emergency Medical Services Inc. for two new ambulances.

Mayor Sid Gale is proposing budgeting only $15,000 for contributions this year even though Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co. Inc. officials might ask the Town Council for $30,000 for a new building or fire truck.

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The council can always pull money out of the town's trust if it decides to make a larger-than-usual donation to the fire company, Gale said at Monday night's mayor and Town Council meeting.

The town annually donates $3,000 each to the fire company, ambulance company and Sharpsburg Heritage Festival. The contributions line item also covers the cost of the Memorial Day parade, Gale said.

The proposed budget includes the $18,000 water and sewer subsidy. That would make fiscal 2002-03 the seventh straight year the town has given residents a subsidy. The subsidy was started to help cushion the blow of increasing water and sewer costs in Washington County.

Town residents were slated to receive a double subsidy this fiscal year. Gale is proposing the Town Council return to the regular subsidy amount.

The total proposed budget amount wasn't available because Gale was working off an income statement for the first 11 months of this fiscal year. That statement showed the town has spent $152,721 so far this year with income of $134,440 for that time period.

So far this year, the town has received only $33,671 in income tax revenue compared with $52,755 the previous fiscal year. Gale said he didn't know if the state still owed the town money or there was a drastic change in income tax revenue for the town.

With that in mind, Gale said he expects to budget $40,000 for income tax revenue next fiscal year.

After the meeting ended, Gale realized he had not asked the council to vote to introduce the budget, which must be adopted by July 1.

Council members Ralph Hammond, Patti Hammond and Marjorie Jamison were still at Town Hall so Gale called a special session and all three voted to introduce the budget. Then he called Vice Mayor Hal Spielman at home, who voted "yea" over the telephone, allowing the proposed budget to be introduced.

The Town Council will meet at 7:30 Monday, June 24, in Town Hall for a budget hearing and to vote whether to adopt the budget.

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