Smithsburg officials discuss next budget

April 12, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

SMITHSBURG - As Smithsburg officials ironed out details of next year's budget, the bulk of the discussion revolved around yard waste removal and how the town should spend its proposed surplus.

Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers presented a proposed $1.06 million budget to the town's council during a work session Tuesday. The current budget is $1.08 million.

The council will not decide on a final budget until May. A public hearing on the budget will be scheduled before the council votes, said Betsy Martin, town clerk/manager/treasurer.

The budget, while not final, includes a $46,433 surplus. After a lengthy debate, council members agreed that $20,000 of the surplus would go toward updating the town's Comprehensive Plan. Another $10,000 of the surplus would go toward a multipurpose tractor for the town's public works department.


Left unresolved was how much the town should spend on yard waste removal.

Smithsburg currently does not offer yard waste pickup.

"That is the single biggest complaint we've been receiving," Myers said.

Curbside pickup with the town's current carrier would cost about $20,000 without tipping fees and other expenses, Myers said.

"Part of the perks of living in a municipality is having these kinds of services," Myers said. "This is what people expect nowadays."

Councilman Jerome Martin, a proponent of recycling, was strongly opposed to spending that much on yard waste removal.

"You're just not going to get my vote on it," Martin said.

Councilman Shirley Aurand said the council members needed to consider older residents and those who weren't physically able to haul yard waste to the landfill on their own.

Despite the suggestion, the council members eventually agreed to explore the less expensive alternative of allowing residents to dump yard waste at a designated Dumpster in town.

Other budget items included:

  • Salary increases of 3 percent for town employees in the public works and general government departments.

  • Raising the salaries of the mayor and council members. Myers recommended increasing the mayor's pay by $1,000, to $3,000. She recommended a $500 raise for council members, bringing their salaries to $1,500.

Council members' raises wouldn't affect the 2007 budget because they wouldn't go into effect until 2008, should the council agree to the raises. The mayor's proposed raise could go into effect next year, since the mayor does not vote.

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