The Hampstead Town Council unanimously approved a $1,210,060 budget Tuesday and, for the first time in the town's history, passed a long-term capital improvement plan.
The four-year $1,962,893 capital budget includes unspent town revenues dating to 1990 and allocates money to pay for road repairs, water system improvements and expansion of town facilities.
"We do have money sitting around and we do have problems and we're in a good position to throw money at these problems," Hampstead Mayor Christopher M. Nevin said at Tuesday's Town Council meeting.
Previously, surplus funds were not made public in town budget documents, said Hampstead Town Manager Neil Ridgely.
This year, the town will spend $245,000 from the four-year capital budget, including $100,000 for road resurfacing, $88,000 for water system improvements, $32,000 for a new four-wheel-drive police car and $25,000 to bring town facilities into compliance with disability rights laws.
Hampstead's 1997 operating budget maintains the town's property tax rate at 45 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Included in the budget is $50,000 for projected legal fees, after a substantial increase in the town's legal expenses this year. The fiscal 1996 budget allocated $12,000 in lawyers' fees, but Nevin said the town probably will have spent $60,000 by July 1, when the new fiscal year begins.
He attributed the rise in fees to a continuing court battle over the expansion of the North Carroll Farms IV subdivision, the passage of new legislation and efforts to force developers to make required infrastructure improvements in subdivisions, including Shiloh Run, Oakmont Green and Roberts Field.
"You can't take on the development battles we have and not expect an increase in legal fees," Ridgely said.
The town also will spend $22,000 to pay a fifth police officer, $22,000 for a consultant to design a long-term plan for Main Street and $16,000 to lease a new front-end loader.
The new budget calls for a first-time allocation of up to $10,000 for holiday decorations for Main Street during Christmas. Ridgley said the money is contingent on the Hampstead Business Association's raising at least 50 percent in matching funds.
Pub Date: 6/13/96