After three weeks of fine tuning, the Crofton Civic Association Monday unanimously approved a budget proposal that increases spending 8.6percent but shaves one cent off the tax rate.
Because the proposed increase exceeds 5 percent, the general membership will have to approve the plan at a Jan. 20 meeting.
"This budget reflects the growth of the community," board member Ken Folstein said. "It has reflected the increased demands in service, but it is a budget that meets the needs of the people."
If approved, the tax rate would drop to 28 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The total budget for fiscal year 1993, which starts July 1, would be $550,784, an increase of about $43,000 from this year's spending levels.
The budget proposal is $17,000 below Town Manager Jordan Harding's budget, which sought a 12 percent increase. Among the cuts made from that proposal were $7,500 for gypsy moth spraying and $3,500 in ground improvements.
Board members said the special tax district has $11,000 in its gypsy moth suppression fund. The budget offers flexibility to residents if they wish to add more money to that effort.
The flexibility comes with the line item for legal funds, which was increased from $11,000 in Harding's proposed budget to morethan $20,000 in the plan passed Monday. Board members said the increase reflects their determination to pursue covenant violations.
Ifcommunity residents would rather spend that money on more spraying for gypsy moths, they can transfer the money at the January meeting. "This really gives them options," association president Ed Dosek said.
Board members said they hope residents will agree to go over the 5 percent cap, since their tax rate is being reduced. Maintaining thecurrent 29-cent tax rate rate would give the community an additional$17,000 to spend.
The budget also makes Lee Longo, the association's current part-time secretary, a full-time administrative assistant, raising her salary from $13,553 to $20,970.
In other business Monday, board members agreed to have a public meeting next month to discuss changes in the proposed bylaws, which failed to pass at a general membership meeting in November.
The bylaws would have made sweeping changes in the way residents are governed by the 13-member board,including alterations in the way budgets are computed and allowing non-resident property owners to vote and hold office.
Attorney Dennis Robin, a member of the rules committee, Monday night proposed a series of changes to reflect community concerns.
He proposed eliminating provisions for establishing a "budget base" computed by the amount of new construction.
The 5 percent tax cap would be applied to that base, instead of to the previous year's budget, as is done now.
Residents complained that would mean a significant increase in taxes.
Robin also proposed limiting property owners to one vote apiece, regardless of how many properties they own.