$12 million budget proposed for city

April 26, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

The Westminster City Council introduced a $12 million total budget last night that calls for no change in the existing 83-cent property tax rate or in water rates.

But the proposal includes a 4 percent increase in the fees customers pay for city sewer service.

The sewer usage fee increase translates to about $2 per quarter for customers who use 14,000 to 16,000 gallons of water, Finance Director Stephen V. Dutterer said.

The gallonage represents quarterly water consumption for an average family of four. Sewer usage charges are based on water use.

Councilman Stephen R. Chapin Sr. challenged the need for the sewer rate increase. He said he didn't like to see city government resort to "automatic" rate increases without studying whether it would be possible to cut costs or increase efficiency.

"I wanted just to say, 'Hey, wait, prove it to me,' " Mr. Chapin said.

The council is scheduled to hear public comments on the proposed budget at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

The property tax rate of 83 cents per $100 assessed valuation is expected to generate slightly less than $2.5 million in new revenue for the city. City law earmarks 5 cents of the tax rate, or $155,000, for street lights, and 3 3/4 cents, or $112,500, for the local volunteer fire company.

The $11.9 million total includes such city capital projects as construction of a new well on the Koontz property off Route 140 and repair of potholes that street crews already have begun patching.

The budget also includes money for one additional police officer and two additional full-time and two part-time street laborers.

City employees are scheduled for a 3.2 percent pay increase, 2 percent less than Mayor W. Benjamin Brown's budget request but with an expansion in salary scale steps from nine to 16. The expansion would give employees at the top of their pay scales the chance for additional raises if recommended by their supervisors.

Individual budgets in the total: general fund, $5.7 million; sewer fund, $3.3 million; and water fund, $2.9 million.

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