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Mount Jackson budget nears passage

By Alex Bridges

Mount Jackson's spending plan that includes no tax increases for next year appears headed for approval.

Town Council held a public hearing Tuesday on the proposed budget for fiscal 2015. No one spoke during the hearing, Town Manager Kevin Fauber said Wednesday. The town has proposed a spending plan with a general fund of $1.87 million; an enterprise fund that covers water, sewer and trash pickup of $2.71 million; capital improvements of $1.7 million; and equipment replacement of $136,000.

Council could approve the fiscal budget as well as rates and fees at its June 10 meeting.

The proposed budget of approximately $6.43 million reflects an increase in spending of more than $550,000 over the current $5.88 million.

All tax rates will remain unchanged in fiscal 2015. The town is proposing an increase in the combined water, sewer and trash pickup fees of 1.4 percent, Fauber said. The proposed change would add 65 cents to the fee charged for the minimum amount of water and sewer used. The average customer who uses 5,000 gallons of water and sewer per month would see an increase in the utility bill of $1.40.

Town Council took action to prevent an even greater increase in utility bills by approving a contract with American Disposal Services that keeps trash pickup to $6.02 per stop. Fauber said the town currently charges $7.54 per stop. Even though trash pickup costs will drop, Fauber said customers still will see a slight increase in their utility bills, just not as much as expected.

Council also held a public hearing on changes to the current budget, which members then approved later in the meeting. No one spoke at the public hearing on this item. The amended budget reflects increased spending in the general and equipment-replacement funds and decreased spending in the enterprise and capital projects funds.

Also at the meeting, council approved a special-use permit requested by the Mount Jackson Fire and Rescue Department that would allow the organization to build a new station. Last month council approved the organization's request to rezone the property it owns to a classification that allows fire and rescue stations as a use. Fauber said the approval of the special-use permit is contingent on whether the Virginia Department of Transportation signs off on the design of the station's entrance and exit on the main road.

Council also authorized town staff members to advertise firms to bid on the water tower repainting project. The design would retain the current mural of the basket of apples.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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