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Williamsport Town Council OKs $3.3 million budget

June 16, 2004|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - The Williamsport Town Council approved a $3.3 million budget Monday in which overall spending will rise 15 percent but the tax rate will stay the same.

Mayor John W. Slayman said Tuesday that the town's streets and pool are two significant projects included in the budget for fiscal year 2005, which begins July 1.

The general fund capital outlay budget includes $35,000 for streets and alleys and $17,300 for the pool.

Clerk/Treasurer Bonnie J. Errico said an upgrade of the town's electrical system is under way, too.

Slayman said continual costs - such as road maintenance, gasoline and diesel fuel - also contributed to the higher budget.

However, water, sewer and electric revenues are expected to increase, offsetting expenditures, Slayman said.

After a public hearing Monday, the town council voted to raise the sewer rates.

Errico said the charge for the minimum usage of 2,000 gallons per month will go up from $8.69 to $10.86.

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For each additional gallon above 2,000, the cost will rise from .366 cents to .4575 cents, she said. Therefore, a customer who uses an additional 1,000 gallons would pay $4.58 more than the minimum rate.

According to Errico and Slayman, the town, as a middleman, has been paying Washington County more for service than it has been collecting from customers.

The council voted 5-1 to approve the new rates. Councilman Monty R. Jones voted no.

The town tax rate will remain at 40.5 cents per $100 of assessed value. It has stayed at that level - or its equivalent under a different assessment method - for more than 20 years, Slayman has said previously.

Although the tax rate is the same, property taxes could rise as property values rise.

The fiscal 2005 budget is $436,000, or 15.1 percent, higher than the current $2.9 million budget.

The new budget calls for $1.1 million in the general fund, which includes administration, salaries and police protection. That's about the same as this year.

Slayman said the fund for employees' salaries went up 4 percent. Employees' evaluations will determine how much of a raise they receive, he said.

The new budget has $1.3 million in the electric fund, an increase of about 23 percent over this year. Much of that is in the total of electric current purchased, which rose 20 percent.

Finally, the water fund in the new budget is $856,000, up about 33 percent from this year.

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