New Windsor council OKs $324,000 budget

Tax rate to remain 40 cents per $100, lowest of any county town

May 04, 2000|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The five-member New Windsor Town Council unanimously adopted last night a budget of about $324,000 for fiscal 2001.

Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. said the town's property tax rate will remain at 40 cents per $100 of assessed value, the lowest in the eight incorporated towns in Carroll County.

Revenues are expected to balance expenditures at $324,328 for the fiscal year that will begin July 1, Gullo said.

The largest category of expenditures is public works, at almost $116,000. It includes trash collection, snow removal, street lighting, and labor and fuel costs.

The budget also includes $71,800 for executive costs, including salary and office expenses; $26,500 for professional services, including planning and legal fees; $5,125 for parks; $24,500 for miscellaneous expenses, including insurance; and $33,000 for the resident state trooper who provides the town's police coverage.

Almost $34,000 will be put into the capital budget for future projects, Gullo said. The capital improvement program for the next five years includes planning for a new water tank, sewer and water lines, well exploration, Main Street improvements, road resurfacing, equipment purchases and land acquisition.

The enterprise fund -- a separate budget to operate the town's sewer and water systems -- projects about $222,000 in revenues and the same amount in expenses.

No resident spoke at last week's public hearing on the budget.

The tax rate for the town of about 1,100 residents was last changed in 1998, Gullo said, when it was reduced by 5 cents (about $12,100 in revenue).

In other business, the council unanimously voted to:

Extend the Church Street water line at a cost of about $20,000.

Plant nine white pine trees to screen the rear of the Atlee Ridge tot lot, at a cost of $1,015.95. Residents had requested the project.

Approve the cable television franchise agreement with Prestige Cable TV Inc.

Change the town's "cumbersome" policy concerning late payment of water bills, which required a telephone call before disconnection. "That's one of the things you can do in a small town," Gullo said, but the calls have been ineffective and usually involve the same 70 to 100 accounts.

The new policy imposes a $10 late fee after 30 days, with a second notice demanding payment in 14 days.

After that, the town will charge a $15 fee and post a notice that the water will be turned off in 48 hours if the bill isn't paid. The fee will be $100 to turn the water on and off unless arrangements are made to pay the bill.

Gullo said the old policy took effect in 1994 after the town found about $15,000 in unpaid bills. He said customers were not being charged interest before that, so the town imposed a $25 late fee after 60 days and required a telephone call to warn the customer that water service would be shut off. The charge for disconnecting and reconnecting service was set at $80.

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