Woodstock OKs 2016 budget

WOODSTOCK — The town of Woodstock approved its budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year on Tuesday night, with a unanimous vote from town council.

The final budget totals $9.83 million for 2016, a 5-percent increase from the $9.32 million amended budget for 2015. Town Manager Reid Wodicka has noted that the increase is largely due to a $500,000 loan for a capital improvements project.

Of the approved budget, Town Mayor Jeremy McCleary said, “It says a lot about the budget that we come here and have a unanimous decision here.”

McCleary added, “It also says a lot about the people that I get the benefit of working with here … it’s an absolute pleasure to work with this council.”

The budget also includes increased water rates for in-town and out-of-town users.

Residents with a meter measuring less than 1 inch will see an increase of 65 cents from 2015 rate of $23.92, which accounts for the first 2,500 gallons used.

With the next 47,500 gallons used that residents use, there will be a $1.61 per 1,000 gallons increase from the current rate of 8.21 per 1,000 gallons.

For the next 50,000 gallons used, residents will see an uptick of $1.41 per 1,000 gallons from a rate of 7.95 per 1,000 gallons.

Council also held a public hearing regarding a request from the Woodstock United Methodist Church to rezone a parcel of land totaling 1.61 acres from high density residential and light industrial to central business B-1.

The church has sought the rezoning with the help of Racey Engineering PLLC, a surveying and engineering firm located in Luray.

While no residents made comments either for or against the request, a few in attendance raised questions regarding the purpose of the rezoning.

Kevin Shreiner, survey manager with the firm, said, “The parcels that are all owned by the church in that block are zoned for two different zones. The object of the rezoning is to get it into a zoning classification that fits the church so that it’s consistent across the block.”

Also on Tuesday night, Wodicka updated council on the town’s capital improvements project plan.

He noted that, due to the completion of council tours of the project sites, they will be finalizing a draft of its CIP document for planning commission later this month.

Council, along with the planning and finance committee, toured the Old Woodstock School on May 26, which is currently being worked on as a new municipal office.

“This is a very long process, and it should take a long time, because it’s a tremendous amount of money that we’re planning to invest,” Wodicka said.

According to Wodicka, the town has received two proposals from engineering firms on designs for the town’s water treatment plant upgrades.

Wodicka said, “I hope that we’ll be able to, as a group, interview the folks that have put forth proposals in an effort to ensure that … everyone in this group is comfortable with the firm that we choose.”

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

• Katie Mercer, the town’s director of marketing and events, said the Woodstock Enhancement Committee has received 10 applications for their “Call to Artists” campaign for sculpture to be placed in Jane’s Garden in Historic Downtown Woodstock.

She added that committee will meet on June 22 to discuss the applications.The chosen sculpture will reside in the garden from Aug. 31, 2015 to Aug. 31, 2017.

“I feel that we’re confident that, out of what we have, we will find something that captures the valley,” Mercer said.

• Mercer also discussed a survey that she and the enhancement committee have been distributing to local businesses in the town.

“Our goal with that is to … get contact information from these businesses and have a feel for what sort of business seminar topics or speakers they like to have,” Mercer noted.

She said that businesses have “been good” about responding and that she will continue reaching out until she has “met every business and have adequate information from the survey.”

• Woodstock Resident Gary Rutz notified the town on Tuesday that he and the Woodstock Police Department completed the defibrillator program.

This was due to a donation from Holtzman Oil and Propane, Rutz said, and has put an automated external defibrillator (AED) in every police officer’s patrol car.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com