New Market considers higher taxes, utility rates

New Market leaders are considering raising taxes and water and sewer rates for next year’s budget.

Town Council’s Finance and Personnel Committee met Thursday to talk about the fiscal 2016 budget and to hear requests from civic groups seeking funding in the spending plan.

Town Manager Mike Ritchie said Friday that New Market is considering a $3.6 million budget that would include an increase in the real estate tax rate of 2 cents, from 12 cents per $100 of assessed value to 14 cents, or roughly 2 percent.

The proposed budget includes funding for a 2 percent salary increase for town employees, Ritchie said. The town would not add any new positions to the payroll, he added.

The town needs to increase the tax rate to help pay for capital improvement projects, specifically a sidewalk for Va. 211 East. New Market would work on the sidewalk project over several years, Ritchie explained. The town also is proposing to build a sidewalk along Clicks Lane, but not in the next budget cycle.

“We’re not going to be able to do all this in one year by any means,” Ritchie said. “Those are some fairly substantial projects that the town sees coming up. We need to get some funding in place ahead of time to deal with them.”

Council also is considering a 2 percent increase in the water and sewer rates. The town has no plans for major utility projects in the near future, Ritchie explained. New Market needs to increase the water and sewer rates to keep up with the rising cost of treating water and repairing utility lines around town. The town treats its drinking water, but sends wastewater for treatment to a regional plant in Broadway.

“It’s easier to do an increase of a couple percent on a regular basis rather than put it off and have to do a large increase all at once at a later date,” Ritchie said.

The committee also heard the following groups request these amounts from the town in next year’s budget:

• New Market Fire and Rescue – $40,000

• New Market Chamber of Commerce – $4,000

• New Market Community Library – $12,000

• New Market Community Center – $6,000

• New Market Rebels Baseball – $3,000

Council tentatively scheduled another work session on the budget for April 8.

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