Stephens City adopts 2016-2017 budget

STEPHENS CITY – Town Council approved an ordinance to adopt the 2016-2017 budget at its regular June meeting on Tuesday.

Town Manager Mike Majher said taxes and rates have remained the same. The town’s real estate tax rate remains at 10.6 cents per $100 of assessed value and personal property tax rate at $1 per $100 of assessed value. Residents will pay water rates of $16.75 plus $3.35 per 1,000 gallons and sewer rates $39.90 plus $7.71 per 1,000 gallons.

The 2016-2017 budget will spend $1,093,350 from the general fund, a .3 percent increase from the current fiscal year’s general fund budgeted expenditures of $1,089,600.

While revenue from items like personal property and natural gas tax decreased, the budget includes a $10,000 revenue increase from the meals tax and a $12,000 revenue increase from the sales tax. The budget also includes an additional $10,000 in revenue from Newtown Festival sales and vendors.

Within the general fund expenditures, the administration, insurance, public safety, fire & rescue and public works budgets all decreased. Increases in audit and attorney expenses brought the budget for professional fees up from $27,729 to $34,720.

Utility fund expenditures will drop from $739,850 in the current fiscal year to $538,000. The water budget has dropped from $143,111 to $61,049, while sewer has dropped from $412,651 to $43,589. Among other line items cutting expenses, sewage treatment by the Frederick County Sanitation Authority removed $180,000 from the sewer budget.

Utility administration expenses dropped from $135,459 to $122,114 in the 2016-2017 budget, while the professional fees budget increased from $31,629 to $168,620, due to the attorney line item expense increasing from $7,500 to $150,000.

The 2016-2017 budget has some decreases in utility fund revenue items, including $183,000 less in water and sewer sales and the lack of $18,000 in water and sewer availability fees.

Both the general fund and utility fund expenditures set aside money for capital improvement projects, with $105,314 budgeted in the general fund and $132,808 budgeted in the utility fund. Majher said the general fund CIP expenditure would most likely go toward a new police car, while the utility fund CIP would go toward replacing old pipes and meters.

Council member Jason Nauman was not present at the June meeting to vote on the budget.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com