Though $80,000 higher than this year, the Union Bridge budget for fiscal 2000 "is still pretty tight" because the town needs to set aside money for sorely needed water and sewer improvements, Mayor Perry Jones Jr. said.
Approved at Monday night's Town Council meeting, the operating budget for the town of 1,000 totals $556,688, up from $476,770 this year. The increase is based on higher water and sewer rates, which will go into effect July 1, Jones said. The rates vary according to usage.
The property tax rate, 75 cents per $100 of assessed value, will not change.
"We would have liked to have dropped taxes, but we have to get started on some of the infrastructure" improvements, the mayor said, adding that new water and sewer lines and a new water tank are at the top of the town's list.
Union Bridge's infrastructure needs about $5 million in improvements, but the town will have to tackle one project at a time over many years, he said.
Real estate taxes are expected to bring in more than $112,000 and personal property taxes about $34,000, not a significant change from this year. Water and sewer charges are expected to total about $215,000 next year, making them the single largest source of revenue.
Among the major expenditures are: $46,400 for trash collection, $62,000 for street maintenance and $26,000 for street lighting. The town also intends to spend $2,500 for Christmas lighting and $4,000 for snow removal.
Union Bridge pays about $85,000 in salaries for two full-time employees, several part-timers and the mayor and council members. That does not include the town's $30,000 share of the salary of the resident trooper it shares with New Windsor.
The town collects $1,350 annually from its parking meters and $3,000 in parking fines, although Jones said the main reason for the meters is not revenue. If the town didn't have meters on Main Street and Broadway, residents in that area might monopolize street parking, he said.
"The meters have to be there for the stores and small businesses," he said.
Pub Date: 4/28/99