Public’s input sought on proposed spending plan

The recently proposed Pineville budget looks to keep the town tax rate flat while taking care of a number of needed projects such as new police vehicles and repairs to the Belle Johnston bathrooms through a new investment plan.

Pineville town administrator Haynes Brigman and finance director Richard Dixon have spent the last several months researching, planning and working with town staff and council to iron out the details of the 2014-15 fiscal year budget. Now, their proposal is ready to be viewed by taxpayers and residents for feedback in preparation for the public hearing and vote, which will take place at the June 10 Pineville Town Council meeting. The budget will be made available at town hall, 200 Dover St., for anyone wishing to review the details before the public hearing , Brigman said at the May 13 meeting.

“We are not looking at any tax rate increases,” Brigman said at the meeting. But the town is expecting a 2 percent decrease in revenue, mostly in relation to property tax projections, Brigman added. “We do expect strong sales tax to continue” as consumers continue to spend more.

This year’s proposed budget totals at $25,122,566, a 1 percent increase from the current fiscal year budget. Changes in department budgets also may be due to the addition of a Capital Improvement Plan, which better allows the town to plan for future high-cost expenditures.

Here’s a look into the proposed budget:

Administration: 

• The overall administration budget was reduced from $587,088 this fiscal year to $582,900, citing small cuts in utilities, travel and training and contract services.Governing Board:

• The proposed overall governing board budget is down from $488,144 to $446,250, citing cuts in professional services, telephone, departmental supplies and contract services.

Police:

• The Pineville Police Department’s proposed budget is down from $4,359,980 to $4,354,550, and shows an increase in salaries and benefits as $100,000 in grant money with the police department expires this year. Increased costs also are shown for vehicle maintenance and repair, uniforms, contract services, dues and subscriptions.

• The budget calls for $30,000 in computer, software and licensing upgrades for the department.

• $110,000 also was set aside as part of the town’s Capital Improvement Plan to purchase three police cruisers. That would come out of the general fund reserves.

Planning Department:  

• The planning department’s proposed budget is up from $262,126 in the current fiscal year to $309,700 next year. That increase is mostly due to an increase in salaries and benefits.

Fire:

• The fire department’s proposed budget is $561,600, down from $626,600 from the current fiscal year. The proposed budget includes an increase in funding for travel and training, maintenance repair for equipment and vehicles, radio maintenance fees and  the town’s contribution to the department, which helps cover costs for employees.

• The biggest change would include a decrease in funding for equipment, which last year was at $159,050. The proposed budget calls for $39,000 in equipment, including fire detection and signaling, the replacement of air monitoring devices and new thermal imaging devices.

• Funding for a $1 per hour raise for each employee also is included in the proposed budget, at an additional $8,100.

• Also proposed as part of the town’s Capital Improvement Plan is a pick-up truck for the department, budgeted at $45,000. That would come out of the town’s general fund reserves.

Public Works:

• The public works department’s proposed budget is $671,400, up from the current fiscal year’s $647,900. Changes in the budget mostly are due to an increase in the salary and benefits line item, where the department will reorganize and likely add two additional maintenance employees.

• The town also is proposing $28,600 to go toward new equipment for the department, including a LZD Zero Turn, a Rotary 14,000 pound lift, auto garage openers and two new computers.

Powell Bill:

• The town is projecting $189,000 in Powel Bill Funds, which are limited to road work and sidewalk improvements. This year’s budget using Powell Bill Funds includes $113,393 in improvements. $66,107 is proposed to help with salaries and benefits, and other departmental needs.

• A new salt spreader also will be purchased for $9,500, but will be paid for out of the town’s operating funds.

• An additional $150,000 is proposed as part of the town’s Capital Improvement Plan for additional road and sidewalk work, of which will be paid for through Powell Bill Reserves.

Stormwater:

• The town is projecting $326,000 in stormwater funds, to which it hopes to use for improvements, as well as $46,700 in equipment, including a Kubota utility cart, winches and mounts, 10-ton trailer, a cement mixer, pressure hose and ditch tamp.

• The town also is proposing the purchase of a new dump truck, excavator, jet vac and four-door pickup truck as part of the town’s new Capital Improvement Plan.

Parks and Recreation:

• The town is proposing an overall budget of $467,400, down from $588,739 in the current fiscal year. That budget will include an increase in salaries and benefits, as well as $9,000 to refinish the Belle Johnston Community Center’s gym floors, $14,000 for renovations at The Hut, and $7,400 for new signs at The Hut and Lake Park.

• The department also has requested $97,000 in bathroom remodel and renovations at the Belle Johnston as part of the town’s new Capital Improvement Plan. That project will be funded with both general fund reserves and the general fund operating budget.

Cultural and Tourism Funds: 

• The proposed budget for the cultural and tourism fund decreased 11 percent from the current fiscal year, coming in at $1,168,200.

• Some changes to that budget include a total of $85,000 in building and grounds maintenance and repairs and an allotment of $70,000 for the town’s fall festival.

• That budget also includes $10,500 to purchase new Christmas wreaths.

Enterprise Funds:

• Enterprise Funds, which include Pineville Electric and Pineville Telecommunications, take up the majority of the budget, together totaling $14,957,566.

• The Pineville Electric administration proposed budget increased about 5 percent at $11,951,033, with the biggest change relating to the estimated increase in power purchases.

• The Pineville Electric operations budget comes in at a 2 percent increase from the current fiscal year, at $756,533. That increase is mostly due to the need for more funding in departmental supplies, as well as $35,000 in equipment, such as a meter reading device and locating equipment.

• Electric also has requested a new pick-up truck at $65,000 as part of the town’s new Capital Improvement Plan.

• Pineville Telecommunications’ proposed overall budget comes in at $2,300,000.

• In addition to a number of new equipment or upgrades, the department also proposed the purchase of a new installation van at $30,000 and $10,000 in building renovations as part of the town’s new Capital Improvement Plan.

 

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