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Sharpsburg sets budget vote

July 23, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG - The Sharpsburg Town Council voted Thursday to introduce its annual fiscal year budget, more than 20 days into the fiscal year.

The council is scheduled to vote on adoption of the budget at its Aug. 2 meeting, Mayor Hal Spielman said after Thursday's meeting.

The proposed $166,470 budget is similar to budgets from recent years. Last year's budget was for $151,870.

This is the second consecutive year town officials failed to approve a budget before the start of the fiscal year, which was July 1.

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While there is no state law requiring a municipality to approve a budget by June 30, Town Attorney Charles Wagaman has said, "it just makes good fiscal sense."

The town's four employees, who are paid monthly, won't be paid until the budget is approved, Wagaman said.

Spielman was ready to present the budget for its first vote at the town's July 12 meeting but a quorum wasn't present, so a vote could not be taken. Council members Jeffery Saylor, Russ Weaver and J.W. Eichelberger were absent from that meeting.

Thursday's meeting was delayed from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. so it would have a quorum. The meeting did not begin until 9 p.m. when enough council members were present for a quorum.

About 10 minutes later, after Spielman had explained the budget to the council members, the members present voted to introduce the budget. The meeting then was adjourned.

Spielman said he and Town Treasurer Tom McCall had difficulty getting together in June to prepare the budget because they both took vacations that month.

In the future, they will try to get the budget done earlier, Spielman said.

The budget provides for the annual $18,000 subsidy to Washington County water and sewer customers in the town to help them pay rates that increased dramatically several years ago.

The budget reflects an increase in the cost of trash removal, budgeting $34,000, compared with $23,600 last fiscal year.

A $28,207 deficit is projected for the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2005. Spielman said the town has reserve funds to cover the deficit.

The town's revenues from the state highway user fund continued to decrease with the expected revenue at $37,000 compared with $46,000 budgeted the previous year.

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