Manchester 2001 budget of $1.9 million includes funding for pay raises

Property tax, water and sewer rates unchanged

May 11, 2000|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The Manchester Town Council has adopted a $1.9 million budget for fiscal 2001 that includes money for a new snow blower, speed bumps and Christmas decorations among other items, while maintaining the property tax and water and sewer rates.

Town Manager Philip L. Arbaugh said revenue projections were based upon conservative estimates of new construction -- 35 houses are expected to be built -- but more homes probably would be built.

After a brief public hearing, the council voted Tuesday night for the spending plan for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Items in the general fund, which contains operating costs and capital projects, include: an average 4.9 percent raise for town employees; a service agreement on office software; continued work on a new police station; upgrading police vehicles and police radios; trash collection of Christmas trees; a five-year street repair plan; and the town's share of a countywide storm-water management program, Arbaugh said.

The town will want Christmas decorations, he predicted, "for our beautiful Main Street" after a revitalization committee completes its work. The budget also includes money from Project Open Space for improvements at Christmas Tree Park and a new skateboard park.

The budget keeps the property tax rate at 46 cents per $100 of assessed value, and maintains sewer and water rates. It allots $347,000 for water and $486,000 for sewer costs, which must be self-supporting from fees.

In other business, the council:

Changed its next meeting date to June 6.

Encouraged residents of Charmil Drive who want to install speed bumps. Councilman Joe Jordan said speed bumps recently placed at Westminster Street have had positive reviews.

Passed an emergency ordinance against unlicensed vehicles outdoors on private property, with a six-month grace period for one vehicle that is being actively restored or repaired. Fines could reach $50 a day after a warning letter and enforcement of the citation in District Court.

Discussed creating an ordinance that would limit to two or three the number of licensed vehicles for sale that could sit on property in town, other than car dealers.

Learned that a developer has offered the town the opportunity to drill for much-needed water on three parcels, said Steve Miller, public works director.

Set a rental fee of $50 for a new pavilion at Christmas Tree Park, built by the Lions Club, with $10 to go to the club. Jordan said plans include a "memory grove" there of seven trees to honor the town's recent mayors.

Displayed an aerial photograph of the town, taken for the Main Street neighborhood conservation program, that notes details that need improvement, such as large trees, downspouts, deteriorating sidewalks and cluttered overhead wires. The budget sets aside $10,000 toward this project, undertaken in cooperation with the State Highway Administration.

Saw a design it had requested for a bypass on Route 30 from Darrell Davidson, a county planner. Although the state has canceled this and other bypass plans as contrary to Smart Growth policies, county officials who met recently with town officials encouraged them to continue planning and to protect needed land.

Tuesday night marked the first evening office hours for the mayor and council members and drew two residents, said Councilwoman Mary Minderlein, who suggested the plan. The next evening office hours will be in September.

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